From One Father To His Son

This letter is a part of the collection of letters in Letters From Black America edited by Pamela Newkirk.  I’ve posted one other letter on the blog.  If these stories-in-the-form-of-letters, or the idea of them is interesting to you, take a look at the book.  I think you’ll find a narrative of the African American experience as well as delightful examples of language about family, love, and a host of other aspects of Black life.

My dear Son Rudolph,

I am in receipt of your letter and have read it carefully.  I know that in many respects I must appear a stranger father and rather disinterested, but that is not the case.  There is more of the Indian stoicism in me than the Negro loquacity.  When I am deeply moved I am least demonstrative.  You were exactly about my age when you made your choice.  I have not tried to dominate your selection in any way.  I have taken the girl only on what your mother has said.  She intimated the probability of this last year, and seemed satisfied.  I therefore made myself satisfied.  I hope your choice will be all you desire and as you have expressed it, she may prove as noble a wife as your mother is.  I suppose really that I should have interested myself in Isabel when she was here last.  But to tell the truth, it did not occur to me.  Just tell her for me that she must take me as she finds me.  Make herself at home whenever she comes around me and do not look for any gushing over as it is not my way.  Let her know that I will take her to my bosom just as warmly as either of you boys and would do as much for her as for any of you.

All I ask is that you boys will not neglect your mother, for, hale and active as I appear, my time is fast approaching and I feel that my [illegible] is not far off…

Wishing you the best,

Your loving father

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