April 15, 2021

by Rosalin Moss

The Mississippi Club



Gerald Duffy


It Is What It Is


Gerald H. Duffy, Jr.

Photograph courtesy of Gerald Duffy.  All rights reserved.


My first encounter with Gerald Duffy was back in 2012 when he was still incarcerated at a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, after being convicted for the second time for drug possession with intent to distribute.  Darlene Carter from the Moss Point Visionary Circle in Moss Point, Mississippi, told me about Mr. Duffy and suggested that his story was worth telling.  Using CorrLinks, an email system that allows inmates to communicate with the outside world, Mr. Duffy and I were able to correspond, and I learned some things about him and his book, It Is What It Is.  I had not communicated with Mr. Duffy since 2012, but I happened to see him on Facebook and contacted him for a follow-up chat to see how things were going since his release.


Duffy hit the free world running when he was released in 2017.  "All I had was a vision when I came home," he said.  The first thing he did was get his CDL license and landed a job with Mississippi Laundry hauling linen to and from the local casinos.  After a year, he partnered with a friend and began working as an independent contract driver.  "I traveled all around the nation and enjoyed every minute of it," he saidAfter business slowed down and it became harder and harder to get trucking contracts, he started investing in real estate for profit.  As I listened to him talk about a new real estate venture he was contemplating, I could see that Duffy was a natural entrepreneur, a natural go-getter.  He could see potential where most would not.


Gerald Duffy is also a published author of two books -- It Is What It Is and St. Peter, The Biggest Conspiracy of the Century. His first book, St. Peter, The Biggest Conspiracy of the Century, is a novel about religious conspiracy and is sure to give the reader lots of food for thought when it comes to what they believe and why they believe it.  His latest book, It Is What It Is, is an autobiography written while Duffy was still incarcerated.  The book takes the reader on a journey from Duffy's early years, his indulgence in fast money and fast living, his incarcerations, and the wisdom that he came to realize and accept.  The book also addresses racism and systematic incarceration.  Now that he is a free man, one of his primary desires is to share some of the wisdom that he now has.




Gerald Duffy is a man who has been through the fire, sort of speaking, a fire that removed any illusions about fast money and fast living.  He learned that there was a much higher price to pay for the "good life" when you were on the wrong side of the law, especially for a Black man.  "I realized that if I put just as much effort into doing right as I did doing wrong, I could be just as successful and not worry about going to prison." 


Duffy's main focus right now is promoting It Is What It Is and the message that he wants the book to get across.  "My ultimate goal is to get a platform through the book to be able to speak to anyone, of any age, that has been through something.  I did 25 years in the penitentiary and my PO told me that I didn't act like I had been gone for 25 years because I had jumped right back into things, when some guys come back after 10 years and can't ever get it right.  That was motivation to me," he said.  He went on to say, "My ultimate goal is to be able to speak on the platform of what I have gone through.  I just want to reach somebody."  He spoke with genuine passion.


Gerald Duffy makes no excuses for his past, nor does he let his past hold him down.  Having paid for his mistakes, he is now ready to roll in a different direction.   "I tell everybody that going to prison was one of the best things that ever happened to me because it made me a man.  When I was out here back then, I didn't want to listen to nobody, everything ticked me off, I thought society owed me something and I thought everybody was picking on me.  You can't go through life like that.  Going to prison made me who I am today.  If I had not gone to prison, I would not have written a book, I wouldn't be talking to you right now."

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duffy's plans to deliver his message of wisdom and hope have been postponed.  However, as soon as life returns to some semblance of normal, he plans to find ways to inform and inspire others by sharing his experience of youthful defiance, lawlessness and incarceration.  The one thing Duffy wants to get across most is that whatever financial gains you are trying to accomplish illegally, can be accomplished legally -- you just have to change your way of thinking.  And the good thing about doing it legal is that you do not have to worry about spending part of your life serving time in the criminal justice system.  He plans to make It Is What It Is one of the teaching tools he uses to help others.  I have no doubt that he will be an inspiration to many when he is able to freely interact with the community again.  His level of enthusiasm and optimism is infectious. 


From the short time I spent chatting with Duffy, I get the impression that he is a deep thinker with a natural business sense, a man designed to make things happen.  Instead of just serving his time in prison, he wrote a book while incarcerated.  And when he was released, he immediately went to work on building a new life for himself.  He didn't sit around and feel sorry for himself or stew in resentment for what he had gone through.  He still had dreams and he realized that he had to find a better way to make those dreams come true.  Duffy realized that he needed to change his way of thinking.  "I realized that there was no easy or slick way to get through life.  I had to change my money thoughts," he said.  Since being released, he has put together several plans for achieving his desired success, all of which are legal. 


Whenever I have a chat with someone, my objective is always to get a glimpse of exactly who the person I am chatting with really is.  I can say with confidence that Gerald Duffy is a wise man in many ways.  That wisdom comes from the life he has lived and the lessons he has learned, and his ability to recognize the need for change and the courage to do it.  Duffy pointed out a stark reality, "Your time is your greatest asset.  You don't waste your time on things that are not going to make any progress.  Whether we like it or not, we are living a life with an expiration date on it,"  he said.  This is a man who knows that life is serious and life is short. The fact that he wants to share some of his wisdom with others tells me that he is not a selfish man and cares about his fellowman.  He wants to spare others the troubles that he has seen.  Most importantly, Duffy wants to let those who need to know that there is a better way.  "I realized that if I put the same amount of work that I put into the drugs or corporate America, I could make progress.  And that's what I did," he says.


Gerald Duffy sees value in all of his experiences.  Everything he has gone through has shaped him into the man he is today.  He counts it all as good and he expressed it so well when he said, "You have to take the bitter with the sweet.  If it was all good, I don't think it would be good."






--Rosalin Moss

The Mississippi Club

April 15, 2021