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M. Eprevel Law

M. Eprevel Law


Born: Chicago, IL, United States
Heritage: African American, German Irish and Jewish

You can do whatever you decide you want to do if you are willing to commit yourself totally to that. When you say you will commit totally to that, that doesn’t mean doing something bad to others. I will do good to myself and others, because we are all in this together. You may be unlucky to live in an area where there is nothing good but that doesn’t mean from all things that you can’t emerge from it. In the worst of things there is some good, as in the best of things there is some bad.

M. Eprevel Law


My name is Doctor Ep Law. Ep is the nickname of the second son of Joseph. I was born on August 19, 1943. I was born on the South side of Chicago, a path to nowhere except poverty and an early death. No one went anywhere, not expecting it either.

Some people got lucky and made some money but were never planning beyond the next hour. My family was different. Both of my parents were educated. My father said that you can escape the grip of poverty through education. They say it is a key to escape.

My father was German-Irish and Israeli Jew; my mother was African-American. Like Obama, I describe myself as a mutt. I have four siblings. My mother died in a February, which is the same month that she gave birth to my youngest sibling. I was seven when she died in my arms. During my mother’s funeral, my father got very ill. Before he died he hired Aunt Ida as our caretaker. She was very old, maybe over 60 years old.

In the Jewish tradition, the oldest son goes off to go about the father’s business. When I was twelve I did just that. Whatever money I made, I sent some home, but some I kept. I still went to school, working afterward. I did odd jobs, such as cleaning pig pens, raking leaves, and shoveling snow. Whatever I needed was on my back in a little pack.

I made it to Minnesota in 1965 to go to the U of M, using money I earned working, I had saved and invested in the stock market. The money from winning science competitions also helped pay the way. I finished with a PhD in entomology, the study of bugs. I was supposed to learn how to breed plants, like potatoes, that are insectresistant.

I then went back and got a Masters. I did Post-Doctoral work in theology. I met the lady of my life in 1966 after a midnight Easter church service. We had a date every Sunday to the church at the Newman Center. My adopted family rejected her. Maybe I’m stubborn, but we are still married forty-two years later. We have two kids and a grandson.


In The Worst Of Things There Is Some Good

Honoring M. Eprevel Law

In The Worst Of Things There Is Some Good
(Honoring Dr. M. Eprevel Law)

You might be unlucky
To live in a place where there’s nothing good
But that doesn’t mean you can’t emerge from it
In the worst of things there is some good
As in the best of things there’s some bad
No matter what you do, it’s true
Always do the best you can

Ep is the nickname for the second son
Of Joseph by the name of Ephram
Out of twelve tribes one of them is me
Got to stand up for the family
Born on the Southside of Chicago
On a street with a path to nowhere to go
But poverty and early death
Thus education my parents stressed

I’m German, Irish and Israeli Jew
Plus from the continent of Africa too
Bring it all together and mix it on up
Just like Obama I’m a mutt
My father and mother immediately
Had four children after me
Not long after my mother died
My father’s eyes were to the sunrise

At the age of twelve I left my siblings
Went off to make a living
To pursue my dreams
What money I made I sent back home
To my family back in Chicago
Without a home living on the street
I would knock on a door
For something to eat
No matter where I went people took me in
To shovel, to rake, to clean out pig pens

When I made some money I put it in stock
When the stock went up you know I bought

A college education at the university
With a PhD in entomology
Tried to breed plants like potatoes
Germ resistant so they might grow
Big and strong without fungicide
In a world free from insecticide

My goal is to make sure I read
And revisit God’s will for me
Among the least you will find
The greatest potential in God’s eyes
It may be the person who’s down and out
Who teaches you what life is about
Everything is possible I believe
When I depend on more than me

The greatest success of my life
Is the night or the morning I met my wife
Through good and bad she’s been my rock
Through hypothesis and esoteric thought
Stronger than that concrete stuff
And in those times when I’ve had enough
She’s been there to guide me through
And may you have that someone too

Music by Larry Long. Words by Larry Long with Mr. Hutchinson’s sixth grade class of Richfield Middle School, Richfield, Minnesota

© Larry Long 2009 / BMI