DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
"Lieutenant, I'm neither a member of the NAACP nor of the White Citizens' Council," said Colonel Ritter. "But I would have preferred the Department of the Army to send me a White lieutenant instead of a Colored one like you." This is the story of Lieutenant Neal Williams' struggle when, in the early 1950s, he was assigned as a platoon leader in an all-white Army Infantry Regiment in Germany. This assignment placed him "on the color front" of a racially segregated Army where it was not accepted policy to have a Colored officer in charge of White soldiers. While on the color front, though not always successful, Lieutenant Williams had to reach deep inside himself for strength and determination to meet the challenges and dilemmas that extended from his regimental commander to his company nemesis, and from his girlfriend back home to the array of women ready to comfort soldiers regardless of their race.
BELL JR. I will introduce myself by saying; I am
a Black man, a poet, an essayist, an educationist, a novelist, a retired army
Major, a Doctor of Education (ED.D.), and a Unitarian Universalist.
In a longer version of an introduction, I’d say to you that I am
Christopher C. Bell, Jr., a Black man, and I was born and raised in Norfolk,
Virginia, when racial segregation was the law of the land. How much I was hurt
by the racial discrimination I faced as a young man, I don’t really know, but I
do know it didn’t help me. In any event, I dodged most teen-age hazards that
befell many young Black men of my day and went off to college, Virginia State
University. I graduated with a degree in chemistry and a commission as a
second lieutenant in the U.S Army, and with no idea as to what I wanted to be
or do as my life’s work.
While in the army, I served in France (twice), Korea (twice),
Germany, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. My military assignments opened to me vistas of
sensitivity to and awareness of other cultures that jarred my “Made in America
Mind.” And so, in my early twenties I began stepping to a cadence that was
different from most of my colleagues, but not so different as to cause me
concern. I was moved to try to write. I did so partly to not to lose available
spare time and to clear my mind. My writings were attempts at fiction (novels)
After military retirement, I earned a Doctorate (ED.D.) from
Boston University’s Graduate School of Education. I served in the U.S.
Department of Labor in Washington, DC., and as a Program Coordinator in the
District of Columbia Public School System. In the District of Columbia schools,
I became an educationist: a front line observer and student of the relationship
between high school student behavior, school’s academic structures and the
community cultural ecology.