Elizabeth is a native of Washington, D.C., educated in
its segregated public schools and Howard University which she attended
for two years majoring in Physical Education. Her lifelong obsession
with writing began as soon as she was able to put a pencil to paper. She
retired from D.C. Department of Recreation after forty years, working
first as a recreation specialist for twenty years with youth in
disadvantaged areas, then the last twenty years in the Mental Health
Program as a therapist with ED youth, adolescents, adults, alcoholics,
and addicts. She was the first female to work in Forensic Psychiatry,
implementing a recreation program designed to meet inmates needs. She
also founded the first adult literacy government employee project.
Elizabeth also spent four years at the Northumberland Elementary School
as a teacher's aide in Special Education. A story came out of this: "My
In 2006, Elizabeth was recipient of the prestigious
Hurston/Wright Foundation fellowship at American University. The
fellowship honors writers of African descent. She currently resides in Inland Harbour, Reedville, Va.
with her two cats, Moustache and Chow Chow II.
On-going interests in journalism, photography and
genealogy led Elizabeth to research her grandfather's oyster schooner
(Gloucester, Va.) which she has written about extensively. Her articles
have appeared in the Gloucester Gazette and Glo-Quips, both area
newspapers. Her journalistic nonfiction pieces have also appeared in the
Northumberland Echo and the Rappahannock Record, illustrating the plight
of the black farmer and the oral histories of African-American residents
in the Northern Neck'. Elizabeth was the first African-American writer
hired by the Mary Ball Museum's "Closing the Gap" project to highlight the last black menhaden
fishermen and boat captains for the Smithsonian Institute in 2004.
Nearing completion is Elizabeth's latest novel about a
corrupt black country preacher, an excerpt of which appears below.
An Excerpt from "The Hand
Upon the Throttle"
Sitting on the grass in front of Simonís
wheelchair, Callie looks up into his face, half drawn down on
one side with that one eye pulled down also with his trailing
lips a bitter curl. "1 have you all to myself now, Simon.
Doesn't God work in mysterious ways? We may not like it but it
always works out and He knows best, doesn't he?"
He nods back.
She gets up and pushes him closer so he can look
out over the bluff. This
is his favorite spot in the world, he has always
said, because this is where his
daddy and grandaddy and he himself had baptized
and brought more souls to
the Lord than any preacher in Hampton Roads,
southeastern Virginia, the
peninsula and even the Delmarva. He was proud and
so was she, she had to admit. She was part of this whole scheme.
Simon," she placatingly patted his legs. "You loved me,
loved our kids, I know you did. Did I ever thank you for all
the good times we had and for three beautiful children?
Well, you just got sidetracked along the way. We all get
Her voice, then, was almost a whisper. "You
remember Beck and Inez
Simms? They loved their daughter, too. She
was pretty, wasn't she? Nobody
ever really knew what happened to her, did
they? You never heard from
her, did you? She was so young and pretty,
her skin smooth and black chocolate, not a pimple, big,
round hips that jumped up and down and that
just blew your mind away, didn't it?"
Simon fidgeted and shook his head, a little
spittle forming at the corner of his mouth.
Their eyes locked and it was as if both of
them were suspended in a sea of dangerous
Callie jumped up suddenly, stood in front of
him and whipped the blanket from his atrophied legs. He
threw up his arms to ward off the blows that he expected
would come and the reached around for his cane that was
"Remember Leonard? He loved me! He loved me!"
She screamed at him
at him. "And I loved him! Loved him! Can you
imagine him making love to
me? Why not? You made love to Christine for
twenty years, and robbed me
of your love. You couldn't stand somebody
else with your wife, could you? How do you think I felt?" He
looked at her, pleading.
In a split second she was at his back,
flipping off the brake on his wheelchair, pushing
him to the edge of the bluff. Simon's voice
from a gutteral animal-like sound to a high-pitched alarm.
terrified, his face a mask of fear. His arms
flailed as he tried to turn the chair
around, but she was too swift for him. She
screamed at him again and again, as she pushed him over the
edge of the bluff . Sounds echoed back at her as the
wheelchair hit the rip rap; screams as the rocks tore at his
body and the splashes and the silence.
"You stole my life twice, Simon. You stole
She awakened with a bad taste in her mouth, her
head pounding. She listened for noises in the
house but heard only Simon's laboured breathing in the next
room. She got up and went in his room and looked down on him.
"Next time I won't be dreaming."
A disciplined but avid multi-tasker, Elizabeth
continues to work on several nonfiction and historical fiction books.
"Black Diamond" celebrates a waterman's life struggles based
on interviews with a black menhaden fisherman in the Northern Neck of
Virginia. "Inside the Shadows" brings to life the gritty
realities of the Afro-american experience in the Washington D.C. alleys
View an excerpt from "Inside The Shadows"
at the on-line newspaper, Chesapeake Style Magazine. For other excerpts
on the latter site, click on "The D.C. Connection" and "Literary Corner"
Elizabeth also won second prize for fiction in 1994 at
the Chesapeake Bay Writers Conference for her short story "Gettin'
Happy". See excerpt below.
Gettin' Happy, (2nd
place winner, Chesapeake Bay Writers Conference)
By: Carter Hillard Allen - A.K.A. Elizabeth Allen Stokes
"The roar in the church was deafening
and without warning another sister, but she was never called sister
because she ran a house of ill-repute, jumped up screaming, arms
upraised, her face blotted with red freckles and her red hair sticking
straight out from under her red hat like a whiskbroom. My Uncle Ernest
who was soft-spoken and religious, said that she went for four hundred
pounds if she weighed an ounce. He ought to know because he'd raised
hogs on peanuts in Suffolk.
She was called red-haired Rya and her
brother was one-legged Umfree and they always came to church together to
complete the sideshow.
He would hit his stump on the pew and clap while she got happy
but this particular Sunday morning she jumped up on their pew, straddled
the back of the bench (us kids thought she was riding a horse) then
jumped back down ..., flopped her big fat ass on that pew bench and
split it from end to end! Ma Mary was to say later that the sound shook
the joists of the church and I would later liken it to an earthquake
opening up the earth."