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Rudolph Lewis

He was born in Baltimore, MD.
Rudolph Lewis (born 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland) was raised by his grandparents William and Ella Lewis of Jarratt, Virginiaââ?¬â?in the Village of Jerusalem. He was recruited 1967 by SNCC organizer Bob Moore while at Morgan State College (1965-1967) to establish a Baltimore SNCC branch. Along with Walter Lively, he helped to establish Black Liberation Press. He spent several years (since1969) as an organizer for Local 1199, the Health Care Workers Union; resigning from 1199 in 1974.

He graduated with a B.A (1978) and M.A. (1981) degrees in English. After graduation, he taught writing and literature at University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland. In 1982, he spent ten weeks with the Peace Corps in Zaire. He taught writing at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU, 1983) and then the University of New Orleans (UNO, 1984-1986).

Yusef Komunyakaa and Lewis, along with Ahmose Zu-Bolton, created and built the cultural center Copacetic on Piety Street. Lewis wrote poems and essays that were published by The New Laurel Review edited by Lee Meitzen Grue and most recently three of his poems were included in Black Magnolias, A Literary Journal (Fall 2009) and his poem ââ?¬Å?Journey Upward Generationsââ?¬ was included in Let Loose on the World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75 (2009). His 1985 ââ?¬Å?Interview with Prize-Winning Poet Yusef Komunyakaaââ?¬ was included in Conversations with Yusef Komunyakaa (2010) edited by Shirley A. James Hanshaw.

With poet Gillian Conoley, he also began his own rag in 1985, Crickets: Poems & Other Jazz, which lasted several issues. In 1987, he returned to Baltimore and worked again for Local 1199 as editor and organizer. From 1991-1997, Lewis taught in several Baltimore adult education programs. During this period he spent a year in Morgan Stateââ?¬â?¢s doctoral program in education (1991-1992), and completed from 1994-1997 a masters program in library science. From 1997-1999, he worked as a librarian for Enoch Pratt Free Library.

After the publication of his edited volume of I Am New Orleans & Other Poems by Marcus B. Christian in 1999, Lewis again returned to the Village of Jerusalem where he collected the letters and stories of his grandmother Ella Lewis and began research on the Southampton Rebellion of 1831. He is an authority on Nathaniel Turner and New Orleans poet Marcus Christian. He worked as librarian at Baltimoreââ?¬â?¢s St. Maryââ?¬â?¢s Seminary from April 2000 until August 2004. He then worked as librarian for Baltimore City College High School from 2004 to 2005.

In November 2001, he founded the black arts and literary website ChickenBones: A Journal (www.nathanielturner.com), which he continues to edit and which has become one of the most popular African-American websites on the internet. It received 2 million visitors in 2006 and has been steadily growing in popularity, nationally and internationally. ChickenBones celebrated its ninth anniversary in April 2010.

My personal award to Rudy Lewis

I do not know of any awards that Rudy Lewis has been given but I know that his accomplishments are legion. Several years ago I met this extraordinary man through the internet. I am not sure how he came to know me but for years I have been graced each morning with a beautiful poem or with a staggering piece of information that I did not know about. Each morning, bright and early, I read Rudy's commentary on anything that is going on in the world, especially politics and ethics and religion and civil rights. I could go on and on. Rudy is just an incredible person and the work that he does to preserve African history, clarify the politics of the world and lots of other subjects is really quite incredible. From time to time, I will add some of his poetry to this site.