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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Life Brings Significance to Older Ones

This entry was scheduled to post the week of July 19th.  We apologize for the delays in our schedule, but we expect postings to return to normal going forward.  We will be posting two blog entries a week until the schedule is back on track. Thank you for your patience.


For weeks I’ve been wrestling with the most suitable way to say Happy Birthday to my now, 3-year-old granddaughter, Daleah.  Better known to me as ‘Tear.’ Logical thinking might suggest, ‘she’s only 3. How hard could it be to tell a 3 year old child, Happy Birthday?’

Maybe that brand of thinking would hold some weight if the youngest Mann in my tribe did not have such a deeply rooted connection to everything I take pride in being.  Her tiny heart does so much more than control the pulse rate rhythmically flowing throughout her precious little frame.  My life means so much more with you in it, Baby Girl.

By the time you read this, you should be well aware of my lifelong fascination with nature and the way it continues to thrive within a penitentiary setting.  I couldn’t help but to think of you as I watch three goslings stumble around the rec yard where your G-Dad works out.  The goslings know no fear.  They are very energetic and if you stare at them for too long, you become selfish - wishing they could just remain as babies forever.

When I look at your pics, I see the liveliness that dwells within a great beginning.  You have the gene of an evergreen soul, Baby Girl; long life is in your future.  At 3, you are something I have never seen, myself in the face of a beautiful little girl. For this reason, I wish you could stay as you are.

Maybe I’ve already missed your delightful response to encountering geese for the very first time.  As I view their activity on the rec yard, I envision a G-Dad and his ‘Tear’ walking in the park and feeding the geese and goslings popcorn kernels.  I can feel you squeeze my hand as you hold out the other with a popcorn kernel resting in the center of your tiny palm.

Your eyes clench as you feel the slightest pinch of nature feeding from the beautiful life that you possess.  With a kiss on the cheek and the hug of a lifetime, I welcome you into the life you’ve replenished.  Thank you, Daleah.

Happy Birthday, Lil’ Mama!!

Loving You,


Copyright © 2015 by Leroy Elwood Mann

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Echoes of a Footprint


Why should I be envious of a horse that has never known freedom?

The American pastime of horse racing will reward the victorious hoof prints of AMERICAN PHAROAH with a lifetime supply of hay and oats for consumption; continuous pampering by the hands of humans; and now that his genes are a 20 million dollar commodity, his sexual appetite will always be satiated. 

But, he still has no idea what its like to run beyond a man’s finish line; diminishing the echoes of his thunderous imprints by mimicking the high valued presence of SEATTLE SLEW, SECRETARIAT, AFFIRMED, and a slave master’s fiddler.  “Good Stock” on any plantation.

The more I think about life before going to prison, the more I hate existing on the inside.  This is what drives me to raise the bar on my own standard of improvement, when it seems natural to conform to the perks of being oblivious to life on the other side of the wall.  I guess this would explain the brief envy I felt toward a racehorse unaware of anything better than the environment he was placed in.

Revolution begins with knowing who you are.  Understanding your role within the cause and being the best at what you are called to do.  For this reason I chose not to emulate the footprints in the mud before me. Through the use of an ink pen, I am blazing a trail atop the mire of inequality so that others can make footprints on solid ground.

Going to sleep anxious – only to wake up angry can incite the greatest efforts a Mann has to offer.  It feels like I’ve been fighting ever since I was exiled from the protection of my mother’s womb.  Cloak, covert, and colloquialisms are the birthmarks of a successful revolution because they disrupt the abortive confidentiality of informants who have proven reliable in the past.

The echoes of a revolutionary’s footprints hold more relevance than a horse bearing the misrepresented title of a king that never had to fight for a thing.


Copyright © 2015 by Leroy Elwood Mann

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Speaking From the Grave: A Scribe to Justin Bieber


I am not a fan, but I am a lover of music.  I am not a racist, but I am concerned when reminded of inequality being my reality.  

Therefore, I am compelled to lean the mirror of consequence in your direction.  Hopefully, by the conclusion of this scribe, you will see the reflection of your immature actions, and the impact these exploits have on others.

Feeling untouchable is a natural characteristic of being young.  Being reckless to the point of squandering the lifelong success that only a select few get to experience is simply self-destructive.  Through your eyes, Usher, P-Diddy, and Jay-Z may be the norm for elders that pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, to become the musical stalwarts they are today. 

But, the words before you were written by your reality check.  You see, my son and his children will probably never know the American dream that you publicly toy with as if it was no more than a hobby.

I was born and bred in this country and I feel somewhat accomplished to have lived to be 46 years of age.  At 27, I lost my rights as a first class citizen.  I am a first time offender who lives in a world where taking a polygraph exam means, “we know you did it,” but they will allow you to believe they just need you to ease their suspicions. 

Here are some examples of how this works:
“Mr. Bieber, are you a pothead?”
If you answer is ‘yes’ and the polygraph indicates you are lying, your word wins because you just confessed.  Making a case against you that much easier.

Let’s try it again:
“Mr. Bieber, did you egg your neighbor’s home?”
If your answer is ‘no’ and the polygraph indicates you are lying; the machine wins.  Now you’re a liar – giving authorities probably cause to search for things that will bury you in a court of law. 

Do you understand how this works, Justin? I’m sure you’re thinking I’m just young and living.  Making mistakes comes with the territory, right?  Well, you are living; living in a country where you are simply one poor choice away from being in a situation where there is no right or wrong answer; only the answer that concludes what you know to be your life.

I know the extents of your self-induced thug image are misdemeanor offenses.  I just can’t understand why a Mickey Mouse Club alumnus would desire to be a hooligan when there is a paved road to riches for youngstas like yourself.  Just look at your fellow alumnus.  Justin Timberlake.  He figured it out and hasn’t turned back since. 

By the way, I still have not introduced myself.  I am the rapper that didn’t make it.  I’m the artist who paid my dues in the studio; invested in recording equipment; sold tee shirts to promote my label, P.O.T.U.S. (Products of the Urban Streets); and the performer for some of the grittiest audiences known to make a rapper become a M.C. 

My passion for this art worked against me when a complete stranger sold 12 more strangers on the theory of my hip-hop image to be a viable reflection of a murderer.  The state of North Carolina knows me as, #0255136, but you can call me, MannofStat.

Why me? You might ask.  Well, you fan base is predominantly young white Americans.  A following that consists of future presidents, senators, governors, judges, and lawyers.  One way or another, these people are influenced by what you do on and off the stage.  These people are six degrees of separation from my grandchildren.  So you need to tighten up, my man.

If your lewd endeavors are a proverbial cry for help, then help yourself by reaching out to some grounded youngstas.  Conscious brothers like Kendrick Lamar and J-Cole can add balance to your life on and off the stage, simply through sharing their awareness of batons, Tasers and bullets. 

The profound understanding of the American dream through their life lenses may be the wake up call you need.  If not, you might end up reflecting on your life from inside of a concrete box, as if it was a Disney fairytale.  Ya heard?

Always 100,

Copyright © 2015 by Leroy Elwood Mann

Monday, June 15, 2015

12 Good Men


This summer, the Unit 3 death row housing unit will reach new heights of achievement.  Our very own drama class will perform their rendition of the classic play written by Reginald Rose, “Twelve Angry Men.”

The irony behind this feat is probably scrambling some brains and forcing the eyes of some viewers to do a double take.  But, I assure you my words are not a misprint.  

North Carolina’s death row is excelling through theater arts – dispelling the general stereotypes of men eclipsed by the cloud of reproof.

It is said that good men are hard to find.  When I look at this cast of men fighting to live, rehearsing their lines, and striving for the best results, the degree of pride I feel is similar to one family member attending another’s graduation ceremony.  I am really looking forward to this performance. 

The entertainment factor is secondary to the fathers involved, replenishing their legacies before the final act is written in stone.  Allowing their offspring to know that a good man may be no more than a letter, or a visit away.

In the spirit of Father’s Day, there is a cast of good men I would be honored to acknowledge: Mr. Julius Samuel, Mr. Leroy E. Mann, Sr., Mr. Dennis L. Wilson, Sr., Mr. Walter F. Williams, and Mr. Thomas L. Carter, were the producers of this art we know as life.  

They have moved on to the realm that knows no drama, but their contributions to our stage of living warrants the highest of moral reviews.  Rest in peace.

A heartfelt applause goes to the directors of today’s keys to life.  These men are the workers and doers that epitomize the title of this post: Mr. Elliot C. Dabney (Pops), I love you, Man.  

Mr. Eugene Brown, Mr. Peter Kuhns, Mr. Jewel Illis, Mr. Jonathan Hartgrove, Mr. Lamar Whidbee, and my son, Mr. Daveante E. Mann.  12 Good Men.

On this side of the wall that number continues to climb.  The fathers partaking in this upcoming display of art imitating life have to endure the frustration of living in the box while their children graduate, marry and honor them with grandchildren.  

Life on the row is no act – by far, but it cannot stop the progression of a good man.  “Twelve Angry Men” is just a play here on the row.  Happy Father’s Day!!

Much Love,

Copyright © 2015 by Leroy Elwood Mann