My understanding of the pain-filled power and the potential permanence of family wounds was illuminated in relationship with my parents, Clarice and Ulysses Sr. My father shot my mother in her head when she threatened to leave him on June 25, 1978. Their intimate and tragic bond forced me to recognize a terrible tension of possibilities. You can explore my journey towards justice with them through my books, films, podcasts and workshops.
Films about my family
The video clips below contains three short introductions. The first film "To Hate" chronicles my childhood experiences with domestic violence that would lead to my mother's death. This film - available at Vimeo on-demand - is a valuable exploration into the long-term impacts of domestic violence. The second film is a clip from The Dr. Phil Show filmed in January 2011. It is free on YouTube. The third film "Odyssey To Save Ulysses: June 25th," shows me and my father traveling to my mother's gravesite on the 33rd anniversary of her death. It is available on-demand at Vimeo.
The Odyssey Project Course
Learn about The Odyssey Project Course
Podcast: The Son rises to seek Justice
For years I kept quiet, suppressing every natural inclination to return to June 25, 1978. For years, I rationalized the childhood madness, I - myself - answering questions I was too afraid to ask. Through my years of silent confusion, my father assumed his pardon. Vacillating between unconditional love and uncontrollable hate, I feigned peaceful acceptance of my mother’s death, deferring to God’s perfect timing and judgment. Eventually I would have to acknowledge that I was lying to myself; I could not accept God's Will. And I had not truly forgiven my father. In fact, I despised God. I hated my father and I hated myself for being his son. I wanted him dead even if his death killed me.
June 25, 1978
Excerpted from the book
Dear Daddy, I hate you:
Letters to my mother's killer
By Ulysses "Butch" Slaughter
I stare straight ahead some days. I’m pulled into a trance. My body is still as my mind races wildly. I hear familiar sounds. I see familiar faces. Yesterday returns. June 25, 1978 comes back. Within seconds, I go back nearly 30 years. Back to a 12-year-old boy. Sometimes I resist the images, sometimes I muffle the sounds. Sometimes I just let go and I sink into the past. Sometimes I step into yesterday. I see a place where we used to live: the place where you killed my mother. I walk around that old apartment. I walk around my mind and remember. I see the square table, the green chairs. I see the kitchen and the front room. I touch the front door and peek inside my old bedroom. I’m alone in that old apartment. There is no one there but me. My mother is already dead. The police have taken you away. The bathroom light is still on. It casts dull, yellow light where my mother last laid. The maroon rug still holds a large puddle of her blood. Right outside my bedroom door, the puddle is still there. But my mother is dead. You’ve killed her. She’s gone. Won’t return. I sit down inside the image. I sit against a wall and stare. I still can’t believe what you’ve done so I start a chant: My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. I say it over and over again to myself. This way maybe it will sink in. My father killed my mother. My father killed my mother. I sit there in yesterday, staring at the blood puddle. But it doesn’t sink in. I’m still not ready to believe it. So I think some more about what I heard that day. I think some more about what I saw. I try to convince myself. I imagine the last seconds of my mother’s life. I imagine her last moments approaching. She is going to die in this apartment. This is where it will end. This is her final destination as defined through your enduring will. Her last breaths as predicted for years by your enduring determination.
Family Wounds: The Scars of Martin Green
Martin Green was sound asleep on his mother's living room sofa. One of his family members quietly entered the room, stood over Martin and poured a corrosive acid down onto Martin's face. The acid devoured Martin's chocolate brown skin. His ears melted. His life changed forever. More than 40 years after this attack, Martin says he was a victim. More than 40 years after the attack, some of his family members say Martin got what he deserved. What will you say after you look, listen and learn about The Scars of Martin Green?
Becoming Martin Green
Excerpted from the forthcoming book:
Becoming Martin Green
by Ulysses "Butch" Slaughter
No matter where Martin Green goes, his past always appears in a reflection. No matter where he goes, he finds himself. He sees himself. He feels himself. He can’t hide. Martin lives inside of his body. Martin lives inside of his mind. Martin lives behind his face. His new face. He can’t escape. He could run. But he can never hide. In the rhythm and blues of his mind Martin hears the taunting 1977 lyrics of soul singer, Teddy Pendergrass, reminding him that “you can’t hide from yourself. Everywhere you go, there you are.” It’s true. Everywhere Martin goes, Martin is there. It’s been that way his entire life. It will be that way for the rest of his life. If he wants to get away from himself, the Door of Death is always within reach. He knows that. He’s reached for the doorknob on that door many times. He’s turned the knob many times. He’s looked inside that room of death many times. But he’s never walked in. He just looks and listens. It’s dark, quiet and still. He’s concerned that it may not be real. What if it’s just a trick? What if he finds himself in there also? What if it’s just a fucking trick and Teddy Pendergrass is in that room singing as well? What if the music is louder and the song is longer? A goddamn remix! What if the song doesn’t end in that room? What if there is no death for Martin Green? What if everyone else died but he’s special and is destined to live forever inside that body, inside that mind and behind that face? That face? Yeah, that face.
Podcast demo: Meet Martin Green
Martin Green is the victim of a vicious acid attack. He went to sleep on the evening of September 8, 1980 with a full brown handsome face. He woke up on September 9, 1980 with his flesh falling off into his hands. Someone poured acid on his face while he was sleeping. What kind of monster does something like this? What kind of man is Martin Green four decades after this attack? Since March 2022, I've been working with Martin to bring his story to world. Listen to these podcasts to find out what keeps Martin alive.