Alan Black

Best Selling Author, International Blogger, Song Lyricist

Alan T. Black was raised and grew up in the United Methodist Church. While Alan proudly embraces his background, and personal history within the United Methodist Church, he feels ultimately the importance is not the denomination that you are a part of, but Alan believes what matters most is the relationship that you have with the Lord. Part and parcel to any relationship is the level of commitment that one makes to it. With any and all relationships, they are going to take time to grow. Alan affirms he has decided to follow what God has ordained him to do in his writing and music; spreading God’s truth. In this spiritual affirmation Alan makes sure daily to nurture and grow his relationship with the Lord.

As is the case with each of us, Alan has experienced many twists and turns along the road of life.  However, each and every step along that road has led Alan to the point in life to humbly say that he is a believer and God living testimonial author and singer.   Most of all, Alan is glad to be able to say that he is a Christian author and to him in this season that is the most important thing of all.

Through the years, if Alan were to describe his relationship with the Lord using one word it would be “transformation.” Continuing to grow daily in his walk with the Lord, and as well with the continued display of the fruits of his Spirit daily, Alan believes this is what his life is all about. Frankly for these times, Alan’s attitude and belief is that the world is looking to those who are Christians to see if in fact their talk does indeed match their walk.

For everything there is a time and season.  Though Alan was unsure of what was in store for him, he is blessed to say that being obedient and trusting in the Lord, he is now able to say and most importantly show others that God will qualify you and lead you to accomplish what His charge is for you. Alan states “You just have to be a willing servant.”  As this is a fact, what He has done through Alan, it was done so to give Him the glory.       

 Alan gives God constant praises of thanksgiving for allowing him to be such a vessel in this vineyard of our present day society. Alan encourages us all to seek God and allow God to be our guide as he has allowed also.

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Balance & Gratitude

Balance and gratitude should play a part in all of our day to day living. Over the past few weeks I have been reminded by people, a lot of which are starting their own business, or already successfully operating businesses for themselves the importance of balance and gratitude. Keep in mind it’s important for us all not to lose site of those things and those people who should be most important starting with your creator and your family.

Time is so precious. We tend to treat time as if we have time but we don’t. This reminds me to encourage as many people as possible to always show appreciation to those who love you and those you love. People deserve appreciation, and all of us need to focus on balance. This world has shifted it’s culture and most people have conformed and accepted the ‘I still have time, We still have time,’ mentality when that is not so. Moving forward, Letha’s Real Talk will be presenting couples who made the decision to properly balance while building wealthy empires together. I appreciate those who have reminded me balance and appreciation matter.

Sometimes it’s a struggle, especially for those who really may not quite understand where they fit with those they have nurtured and supported so. I have come to the realization some may not appreciate their creator or even have families and these will be the very ones who will attempt to destroy the first gift creation gave us “family”. “When you lose site of who and what’s important you have become blinded to the realization that the mere existence of balance and gratitude is what allowed some of us to make it as far as we have, because of the support of those who have our best interest at heart.”

Thank you to those of you who do not mind letting the world know the importance of balance and most importantly those who encourage others to balance their family time, life, and gratitude properly.

Rev. Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason

Rev. Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr. Historian, is the senior pastor of Historic West Mitchell Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia. A proud native of Atlanta and an honors graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools, Dr. Mason matriculated and graduated from Morris Brown College. He continued his education at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and earned Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in African American Studies and Archives/Museum Management. He is also a graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta where he obtained the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees respectively.

Dr. Mason, a seasoned educator for over 25 years has served as professor of history, college archivist, director and dean of students and Vice President of Student Services at both Morris Brown College and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, he serves as the Director of Library Service and Assistant Professor of African-American History and Religion at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.

Dr. Mason is the author of numerous books on the history of African Americans experience in Atlanta, Georgia and the South and has published over 10 books including Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties, Black Entertainment in Atlanta, African American Life in DeKalb County,Politics, Law and Civil Rights in Atlanta; Black American Series: East Point, Georgia. He has curated major exhibitions including the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Centennial Exhibition, Crowns and Gowns:The Legacy of the Homecoming Queen, Hidden Treasures:Black Photographers in Atlanta and served as a historical consultant on numerous PBS documentaries. Most recently under Dr. Mason’s leadership Voorhees College opened its museum documenting the college’s history. He also serves as the Liaison for Museums for the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Dr. Mason served on the National Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. which led to the completion and dedication of the monument on the mall in Washington, D.C in 2011. Dr. Mason is a member of numerous fraternal, social and civic organizations. An avid genealogist, Dr. Mason enjoys reading, local and international traveling, collecting black memorabilia and photographs, listening to music and researching his family history. He is the founder of Skip Mason Vanishing Black Atlanta Facebook Page and Book Club. Dr. Mason is the father of two wonderful young adults Jewel and Jodari. He gives thanks to God for his journey.

Osborne Bell, Sr.

Osborne Bell Sr. was the first black Sheriff in Marshall County, MS and one of the first three black Sheriff’s to be sworn in- in the state of Mississippi. There is also a memorial marker just north of Hwy 4 on Hwy 309 south of Byhalia, MS marking the spot where Mr. Osborne was killed while on duty. Hwy 309 is also know as the Osborne Bell Highway. Osborne Bell was loved by many and is remembered for his friendliness and fairness to all. His political career began in 1967, when he was elected the first black coroner and served three terms as Marshall County Coroner (1967-1979). Osborne Bell was elected sheriff of Marshall County, Mississippi on November 6, 1979. He served his people with distinction. Sheriff Bell was a leader in law enforcement and in his community as well. He died in the line of duty on the morning of May 7, 1986.

Rest in Heaven Dear Uncle. I pray your legacy continues to live through us all.

Nikki Giovanni

Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni. Jr, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for African American culture and heritage from her grandmother, explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.” This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly her sophisticated use of vernacular speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU (historically Black college or university) in Nashville, Tennessee. A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity.
Nikki Giovanni is one of America’s foremost poets. Over the course of a long career, Giovanni has published numerous collections of poetry—from her first self-published volume Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) to New York Times best-seller Bicycles: Love Poems (2009)—several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (2004). Her most recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose (2020), Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013) and, as editor, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010). A frequent lecturer and reader, Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.

Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni. Jr, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for African American culture and heritage from her grandmother, explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.” This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly her sophisticated use of vernacular speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU (historically Black college or university) in Nashville, Tennessee. A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity.
Giovanni’s first published volumes of poetry grew out of her response to the assassinations of such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy, and the pressing need she saw to raise awareness of the plight and the rights of Black people. Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) and Black Judgement (1968) explore Giovanni’s growing political and spiritual awareness. These early books, followed by Re: Creation (1970), quickly established Giovanni as a prominent new voice in African American literature. Black Feeling Black Talk sold over ten thousand copies in its first year alone.She publicly expressed feelings of oppression, anger, and frustration; in doing so, she found new audiences beyond the usual poetry-reading public.