Toni Cade Bambara x Geraldine Wilson, A Friendship

LA TIMES (Dec 15. 1995) Toni Cade Bambara, 56, a novelist, short-story writer, scriptwriter and filmmaker, died of cancer Dec. 9. Ms. Bambara, a native of New York, lived in Germantown, Pa.

In this undated photo, a photographer captured Geraldine Wilson (seated-left), Toni Cade Bambara (seated-center), Ruby Dee (seated-right), and others at a writer’s workshop in New York City.  Geraldine and Toni, eight years apart, had a deep, loving friendship bonding over writing, civil rights, and furthermore their love for Black women and children. They were sistas. Geraldine’s archive holds letters between her and Toni. Given that was Toni’s birthday yesterday, I wanted to share one of these letters with you (written in 1980).

Toni Cade Bambara and Ruby Dee, date unknown

Your name’s been in my mouth all week for one reason or another and then I got LaFrances’ book outline and fell out. That is you there, ain’t it. Doing self-actualization?? Well alright. How goes it? How goes the dissertation? All through and no scars? What’s with the hurricane book? How’s your love life? Whatcha into? There’s a sistuh in LaF collection you oughta meet, Gloria Gayles, she’s at Talladega, she did that very moving intro to STURDY BLACK BRIDGES. I love that book, flaws and all. The two of you remind me of each other. Similar spirit, but different energy. You move through the world in this easy, deceptively muted way with your immense power tucked under your lips somewhere. She kinda glides very poised but very power ful too. I hope you two can ‘meet’ in some manner, spark each other. Trying to get this novel off my back. IN beginning felt like a knapsack, treasure trove, and me eager to reach the picnic grounds and unpack. Now feeling like a rock, a heavy sack, a hunchback hump. Phew. I long to get back to shorts where I know what I’m doing…sort//Been doing a lot of travelling about country this spring. The 80’s look promising. Amazing amount or [sic] organizing going on in Blk comm-artists, writers, musicians, workers, support com, students, and the medicine folk. Have found several clairvoyants, healers, telepaths to study under so I guess I’ll be in Atlanta for a while. I like it, it’s mellow. The anti-nuke network has not though shaped up as I thought for this period. Confused to by compliant, relatively speaking, attitude toward gas crisis…Not that US pop doesn’t need to curb appetites severely and quit gobbling up lion’s share of world’s resources, but find willingness to go along with oakie doke stunning. Another observation from recent on the road trip—Black women emerging as spiritual leaders everywhere. Filling up divinity schools taking over the Unity Movement, capturing the missions and interdenom. Councils, setting up churches and training institutes everywhere. Interestingly I need to sit down and char that. Black American’s moon (us) moving into a long spell under Acquarious with lots of Pluto (change, power, transformation) influence from now through rest of century.

Nothing much else to report. The kid and I are prospering. Trying to get to Blk Wom Conf in New Orleans this week and then Hoodoo Festival in Galveston (it sounds to weird to say “in” sounds like in the drink) then an interesting gathering of all sorts of wom at U of Ala. Then I can sit down and ate with chipmunks and squirrels, maybe convince them to get out of attic and find other digs. Everything mellow at this end.

Just wanted to holler at you. Have a wonderful prosperous pleasurable profitable resplendent summer, Gerry.

Love ya,





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