by Victor LaValle (originally published in Love letters from the New York Times Style Magazine, 14 February 2019)
The writer Victor LaValle reflects on the power of the Oscar-nominated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and its young hero.
My kids think you’re great, but I’m the one who loves you. I’m 47, my son is 7 and my daughter is 5, but at the end of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I’m the only family member who sat there in tears. In the movie you look like a teenager, but in reality you’re barely 8 years old. Back in 2011 two folks at Marvel Comics — the artist Sara Pichelli and the writer Brian Michael Bendis — created you. In the sea of Caucasity that was (and still is) the comic book industry, you were long overdue. I know this is all a bit meta, but that history was rolling through my brain when the movie ended. Meanwhile my son and daughter were too busy pretending to turn invisible or web-sling across the Magic Johnson Theater lobby to notice. I watched them playing and thought about myself at their ages. I know, I know, nothing is duller than listening to an adult talk about how things were “back in the day.” I’m going to do it anyway so go ahead and pre-roll your eyes. Continue reading “How Miles Morales Changed the Spider-Verse”
by Diana Marcum
Originally published by the LA Times, 30 May 2014
HURON, CALIFORNIA: The two fieldworkers scraped hoes over weeds that weren’t there.
“Let us pretend we see many weeds,” Francisco Galvez told his friend Rafael. That way, maybe they’d get a full week’s work.
They always tried to get jobs together. Rafael, the older man, had a truck. Galvez spoke English. And they liked each other’s jokes.
But this was the first time in a month, together or alone, that they’d found work.
Continue reading “Dreams Die in Drought: Drought Yields Only Desperation”
by Rachel R. Swarns
Originally published by the NYTimes, 16 April 2016
WASHINGTON — The human cargo was loaded on ships at a bustling wharf in the nation’s capital, destined for the plantations of the Deep South. Some slaves pleaded for rosaries as they were rounded up, praying for deliverance.
But on this day, in the fall of 1838, no one was spared: not the 2-month-old baby and her mother, not the field hands, not the shoemaker and not Cornelius Hawkins, who was about 13 years old when he was forced onboard.
Their panic and desperation would be mostly forgotten for more than a century. But this was no ordinary slave sale. The enslaved African-Americans had belonged to the nation’s most prominent Jesuit priests. And they were sold, along with scores of others, to help secure the future of the premier Catholic institution of higher learning at the time, known today as Georgetown University. Continue reading “272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?”
by Benjamin Hochman
Originally published by the Denver Post
He was an old man who played baseball in a league for old men and he was the oldest of them all and he liked this. He arose each morning as incandescent as the sun itself and he carefully tucked in his uniform top and pulled his black socks high and crisp to his knees and was ready.
Lou Rotola turned 81 years old on this day, June 19th, 2015, and he drove an hour south from Fort Collins to Denver to play baseball.
“I can’t get a better gift, truthfully,” he said.
Continue reading “Baseball dreams for Lou Rotola, 81, grow with age”
by John Branch
Originally published in the NYTimes, 11 June 2015
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Afternoon gave way to evening, and the parade of restless clouds and the occasional bursts of rain had moved on from Yosemite Valley. In their wake was the empty quiet of Taft Point, 3,000 feet above a famous green valley going gray in late-day shadow.
There were no tourists, only a raven, black and unhurried, circling at the edge of the cliff. It spiraled upward, a silent signal of rising air. A good sign for BASE jumping and wing-suit flying.
Dean Potter, a 43-year-old professional climber and jumper, considered one of the world’s best in a wing suit, stood a few feet from Graham Hunt, 29, his apprentice and flying partner.
Continue reading “Lost Brother in Yosemite”