From 1997 to 2005, I served as Freedom of Information Officer for the Chicago Park District during the day and worked on a monthly newsletter--The Diplomatic Times-- and a website, The Diplomatic Times.Com, at night.
I also worked on novels. To date I've written three, all unpublished. But that's because I haven't really tried to publish them. They are: (1) When the Sun Rises in the West" and (2) The Man From Port-au-Prince." A third novel is in progress. I may try to publish them one day.
I was born on a sharecropper's farm in the Eastern Arkansas Delta about 15 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee. I had asthma as a child and spent most of childhood years reading hundreds of books on a wide range ofÂ subjects since I couldn't play or work in the fields without triggering an asthma attack. As a result of that discipline, I've read several thousand book during the past four decades. Mostly international affairs, world history, American history, African history, Middle Eastern history, diplomacy, politics, espionage history, spy thrillers and detective mysteries.
I graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis in 1969. In July of that year, I registered for the draft and waited with dread for my greeting from Uncle Sam telling me I was wanted in Vietnam. It never came. I was determined to be a journalist, not a soldier.
Photojournalist I began working as a photojournalist in 1970, starting with a community newspaper in West Memphis, Arkansas called Many Voices. I was paid $14.50 every two weeks but I didn't care. I wanted to write. Not only did I write, I also developed and printed photographs for the paper and helped with layouts. After I left Many Voices, I contributed periodically to the The Southern Mediator Journal in Little Rock and had photos published in Jet magazine and other publications.
Sometimes in early 1973, I met photojournalist Chester Sheard, then a correspondent with Muhammad Speaks, a controversial Muslim publication with a huge circulation, bureaus all across the U.S. and stringers in various countries. He encouraged me to contribute to it, which I did.
During those days, I visited or reported from small towns in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas. Over the years, I also took reporting trips to California, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. But most of the time, reporting was done by phone. In 1974, after having several freelance articles published in Muhammad Speaks, I was invited to Chicago and offered a position as a staff reporter. A year later, the paper sent me to the Printing Industries Institute of Illinois and Indiana where I studied newspaper and magazine layout and design. I wasn't interested in it but went anyway. I wasn't ready to look for another job.For years, I was stuck doing layouts and reporting.
LAYOUT, REPORTING AND EDITING
From 1974 to 1987, I worked as a reporter, layout editor, copy editor, managing editor and foreign affairs editor. I eventually became the editor of Chicago-based Muslim Journal and held the position for about two years before I was dismissed. Among the people I interviewed were former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Former Liberian U.N. envoy Winston Tubman, the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, Dumasani Khumalo, South Africa's Ambassador to the U.N., representatives of South Africa's apartheid regime when it was in power, Palestine Liberation Organization officials and revolutionaries from the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Southwest Peoples Organization of Namibia, the Polisario Front of the Western Sahara, to name a few.
Although I've covered events in the the Caribbean and North Africa, 99 percent of my work was in the United States, where I concentrated during the mid-1980s on diplomatic reporting and interviewing foreign officials that regularly visited the U.S. I've also visited England and Mexico.
My articles were often pirated by publications in the U.S., the Caribbean, South Africa and other countries. Some articles have been referenced in books. I never complained about the pirating because I was glad to have the exposure.
During my tenure at Muslim Journal, I spoke to inmates at Federal prisons in Lewisburgh, Pennsylvania and at Terra Haute, Indiana. I also spoke at several colleges, universities and schools in Illinois and Michigan.
I was a frequent guest on WBEZ, the public radio station in Chicago, and WGCI radio during the tenure of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. I was also profiled in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Press.
After leaving Muslim Journal, for a while I served as a correspondent for Sadaqa-TV, a local cable access program.
THE LEGAL PROFESSION
I also worked for the Chicago Council of Lawyers. While at the council, I took and completed a course at John Marshall Law School called "Law for Community Developers and Social Workers. This made me think about becoming a lawyer. But first I decided to go to paralegal school, to gain experience working in the legal profession and to see if I wanted to undergo the rigors of law school.
In 1991, I went to the Chicago Park District as a litigation paralegal specializing in discovery. I readily took to it because of the research and investigation involved. During that time, I started work on a novel and did periodic, freelance editing. I decided I didn't want to go to law school.
THE DIPLOMATIC TIMES, INC.
In December 2000, I formed The Diplomatic Times, Inc. (TDTI) For a while, I published The Diplomatic Times newsletter, and a website at The Diplomatic Times.Com. Those ventures were folded to concentrate on Internet publishing. My blogs are not owned by TDTI. In between, I taught myself how to create web pages after spending hundreds of dollars to have one designed that was never completed. I've studied Arabic since 1999 and intend to study it for the rest of life. I studied psychology at Chicago State University and English and Communications at East-West University in Chicago. I am a graduate of Roosevelt University's acclaimed Paralegal Studies program and have taken continuing legal education courses. In addition to my blogs, I also own numerous domain names.
Last Updated: August 26, 2007