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Friday Feature: April Sojourner Truth Walker


April Sojourner Truth Walker, PMP is a Dallas native, who studied at Emory University in Atlanta and Hollins University in Virginia prior to calling Oklahoma City home. Before starting her writing coaching company – A Little More Truth, LLC – in April of 2020, she worked for seven years as a Senior Project Manager at AT&T. April is also currently an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma City Community College where she’s taught a myriad of classes in the Humanities since 2016. A perfect day for April is one spent in nature with her camera, a cup of tea, and nowhere to be. Her current manuscript, Fire Psalm, grapples with how the history of the black community in Dallas is covered up by the city’s constant need to revitalize its image. Follow April on her website and on Instagram.





SOCIAL STUDIES

by April Sojourner Truth Walker



1. Graduate School


My mother hands me the latest version of Texas

History textbooks. I’ve asked for it. And though


she doesn’t know how it will help

she’s taken a copy that can be spared.


The book is heavier than I remember, its cover

simplified—metallic star emblazoned on royal blue.


I flip past chapter assessments, colored pages

highlighted critical thinking prompts until I find


what I need—the Civil War and Texas. But I don’t read

the text. My eyes are drawn to the corner of a page


where black children, women, men stand or stoop

in rows of cotton—women with baskets balanced


on scarf-wrapped heads, burlap sacks slung

over men’s shoulders, children no more than six hugging


their mothers’ thighs. The picture is not photo but cartoon.

A colorful rendition of white fields dotted by black faces


staring blankly. How many daguerreotypes of slaves

did the artist study before creating the image


my mother teaches to distracted nine-year-olds.



2. Middle School


We have a visitor—Roland Warren’s mother—

who apparently wrote a book about a great-grandfather


or uncle. But I am busy watching my crush drop

popcorn kernels into the heater in the back of the room.


Before our class she stands, prattles on of her great

so-and-so. See, she says, beaming, pointing to the man


in sepia, cowboy hat cocked back, right hand on hip

where a holstered pistol rests, he was a bit of a rebel.


She passes the book. When it reaches me I look long

into his eyes, relieved our paths will never cross.



3. Elementary School


It is the first day of class

and in the back room Mrs. Connor hands


each of us a textbook and paper cover.

At my desk I place the book’s spine


in the center of the paper. But

the book is new and I am distracted


by the beautiful sand-colored binding

the Texas borders enclosing scenes of oil


rigs, longhorns, men on horseback gallantly

waving hats in an unseen breeze. I consider


leaving the book unprotected. But I know

in May any damage will be my responsibility—


so I follow instructions, cover.





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