Griffin Speaks


I have been writing my weekly column for approximately seven years. I often wonder if I am making a difference. Since the start of the column I have expanded to several Newspapers throughout the country. I have also placed my weekly column on the internet resulting in it being read throughout the civilized world. I have received letters from people throughout the world.  

My article was read by one man who found a Tuskegee Times Newspaper left on a flight to Russia. He emailed me that he enjoyed reading my article on Ava Gardner. There was the young man who read my article about suicide and decided that suicide was not for him. I have decided to start sharing some of these extraordinary letters and emails with my readers. 

A few days ago I received a beautiful letter from an Alabama Death Row Inmate. The death row inmate who wrote the letter was Derrick Mason. He wrote the following: 

Mr. Greg Griffin: 

Hello Mr. Griffin. You don’t know me but I have the awesome privilege of reading your column every week in the “People Voice” Newspaper. I just finished reading the article that you wrote concerning your friend Pamela Mack. You have my sympathy sir. 

My reason for writing to you today is totally unrelated to the article that I’ve just read. You see, I am presently incarcerated on Alabama’s Death-Row, and whether I live or die it is my intention to do so as a MAN – either way! A man (being something that I was not when I was in the free world) is something that I can only imagine has to be cultivated from out of the boy. I can clearly see that now. 

Most of us guys that are in prison right now came at an early age – 17, 18, 19, 20 – while we were boys. And the transition from boyhood into complete manhood can and has been a difficult one. Many of us didn’t have fathers in our lives to train us up. Many like me had fathers but refused to heed their wise counsel. Either way all ended up in the same predicament – in Prison without the benefit of a Father’s tutelage, thereby making the transition into Manhood frustrating, Being incarcerated, in a sense stunts your growth because a part of you is still stuck in the year you took your fall. Though you try the process because you are retarded along the way. This has been my experience Mr. Griffin. Like any responsible person I have become more introspective with each passing year and I still see some immaturity in myself that I thought I had long since grown from. Very disheartening at times! 

I am writing you Mr. Griffin because from reading your articles I know that you are a Morehouse Man! As any Black man in America (with any sense) I’ve heard the statistics of how Morehouse produces upstanding Brothers. I’ve read articles on Dr. Mays and It’s my understanding that he was a man amongst men.., I like that Brother! Black people need more of that.  

Mr. Griffin I would like for you to send me (if your schedule permits) the names of any good books that you know of that speaks to the subject of Manhood… or the developing & making of man. I would greatly appreciate it. 

Thank you so much for your time and concern in this matter. Be Blessed! 

Ever Growing,
Derrick Mason #Z-582
Cell I 1-4A
Holman Unit C/E Holman 3 Tier
Atmore, Alabama 36523

I plan to write Mr. Mason back and recommend that he read Attorney Jock Smith’s book: “Climbing Jacob’s Ladder”. If you have any other suggestions please write to Mr. Mason at the above address.

In the words of my dad, Dr. Melvin J. Griffin Sr.: “Don’t get a College degree and have scared behind it!”

Greg Griffin is a free lance writer. You can read his previous articles by visiting his web page at or write to him at P.O. Box 250194 Montgomery, Alabama 36125-0194. 

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