fivefifths
Vann R. Newkirk II (fivefifths) is Co-Chief Scribe at Seven Scribes, a writer at Daily Kos, a fiction writer, blogger, futurist, and activist. Vann is currently working on a science-fiction novel and short story series and resides in Silver Spring, MD. Find him napping on a bus near you.

Posts By fivefifths

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The Worlds on Wheels: A Narrative Essay

In Literature by fivefifths1 Comment

The autumn chill creeps into the blue-grey morning air as the season announces its presence. This world, at least, is a series of blocks and corridors, number streets and state avenues that loosely circumscribe a community of mostly black and brown families across town from new Camelot. It is a synergy of corner stores and…

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Scribes at the Movies: Good Burger

In Culture, Film by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

Good Burger turns 18 tomorrow! Join Eve and Vann as they discuss the movie's plot, cultural significance, and artistic relevance. Art by Eve L. Ewing and Trey Smith ELE: Okay, maybe we can kick it off by talking about the music since that is a big part of why we wanted to do this. I…

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The Age of Emoji

In Culture by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

A number, a word or a concept? The 💯 emoji taken at face value may simply be an oddly formatted version of a number, a wayward wingding of indeterminate use. But to members of certain segments of Twitter (often broadly referred to as “Black Twitter), 💯 symbolizes a great deal more. There, it indicates authenticity, a…

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Between the Words and Me: Reading Coates and Lee

In Literature by fivefifths1 Comment

The specter of segregation lay over my adolescence like so many white sheets. Rocky Mount, NC, a place for which my love is only rivaled by my antipathy, a country enclave of temporal stillness, a place still racked by the death throes of the Confederacy, the place where I learned both what it meant to…

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On Charleston: Letters from the Scribes Pt. 2

In Social Justice by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

In the Shadow of the Flag - fivefifths   Long drives down Carolina state roads through dusty main streets straight out of the 1950s and miles and miles of tobacco fields. We would go from Charlotte to Elizabethtown, the tiny town of narrow roads and backyard pecan groves carved into the deep green woods of Bladen…

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The Debt

In Social Justice by fivefifths1 Comment

The noose was fitted from birth.   This one, the power cord of an air conditioning unit. Plastic and wires replaced the hard hemp knot, but the end result still the same. A dead Black body; a spirit extinguished. At once a tethering and an untethering, a joining of a broken man with his broken…

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The Languages of the Unheard

In Culture by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

“There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of individuals within that society who feel that they have no stake in it…” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was addressing the Universalist Unitarian Assembly. The year was 1966, late spring, in the slow interstitium between Selma’s success with the Voting…

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The Galveston Giant

In History, Sports by fivefifthsLeave a Comment

April 5th, 1915   The spectators still keep pouring in. The racetrack in sweltering Havana. White Americans and Europeans stream alongside Cuban men in in suits and panama hats as President Menocal looks on. Jack Johnson and Jess Willard, two giants in silk robes, step into the ring pouring sweat. Willard weighs in first, a…

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Notes of a Mortal Man: My Time with To Pimp a Butterfly

In Music by fivefifths1 Comment

I’ve had eleven days since To Pimp a Butterfly came into my life like a marauder past midnight and kept me up until the dawn. Some songs have become soundtracks to long runs around the river in the cold grip of spring mornings, some to sleeping bus rides on the way home, some to pre-meeting…