Russell L. Goings Keeps Us Coming Back - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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On Oct. 16, 1995, when scores of black men gathered on the lawn of the Washington Mall for the Million Man March, Russell L. Goings sat down to write an epic poem, The Children of Children Keep Coming. It was released Jan. 14 by Pocket Books Publishing and is his first book of poetry.

“Do you know what I saw coming over the mall? … I saw black men that just kept coming. They came in limousines. They came on crutches. They came walking. They came crying. They came to stand together to declare that I am my brother’s keeper,” Goings says.

Incidentally, the title of his poem is befitting of the life that Goings, 77, has led and continues to lead. He grew up strong enough to play professional football for the Buffalo Bills but is also so sensitive that he can’t walk near the ocean without falling humbly silent, reminded that the spirits of his ancestors–Africans who were thrown or who jumped overboard from slave ships–were very much alive at the bottom.

He says that while playing football, he was “dumb enough” to be late for practice because he was reading poetry. Yet he was smart enough to become founder and chairman of First Harlem Securities, one of the first full-service, African American brokerage firms to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and smart enough to help found Essence, the first magazine geared to black women.

Goings faced several challenges in his youth, suffering from dyslexia as a child. (He couldn’t recite his ABCs until the sixth grade.) That challenge, combined with the obstacles he faced on the football field and the struggle of being a black man on Wall Street, served as fertile ground for his creative ideas about a people who persevere.

0212_lif-goings2In The Children of Children Keep Coming, metaphors abound along with alliteration and homonyms. (For example: Jim Crow owns crows that drink from Ida B. Wells‘ Wells.) The book is an episodic narrative that includes real and documented people as well as mythological characters.

“I can not come this way through the benefit of [Harriet] Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Rosa Parks and not pay homage to them,” Goings says. “As a people, I believe we need to create our own mythology. Everybody’s got their own. Africa is full of mythology. The only reason we don’t have one is because we’ve only been writing and able to handle our own [literature] for 144 years.”

Along that line of thinking, Goings created characters such as Calli, a child-like bard he modeled after Calliope, the Greek goddess of epic poetry. Calli tells the story of Rosa Parks and her various triumphs and people she meets along her journey. Goings also includes Jesse Owens, the Olympic gold medalist in track and field who, in the

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.