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african american men

What I’m Reading: “A Question of Freedom” by award winning author R. Dwayne Betts

Dwayne was determined not to become another “statistic” and decided to shape his life into something he could be proud of. Dwayne spent his incarcerated years reading, writing, teaching himself Spanish, working as an educational aide, a librarian, a law clerk, and a GED tutor. He read books and wrote poems constantly. Dwayne confronted profound questions about violence, freedom, crime, race, and the American justice system. Five years after his release from prison, he wrote an eye-opening memoir about his situation, “A Question of Freedom,” which received the 2010 NAACP Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author in hardcover.

What I’m Reading: “Losing My Cool” by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Like many young men in America, Thomas Chatterton Williams grew up in awe of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and the parade of bling-bedecked rap stars he saw on Black Entertainment Television and MTV. Williams emulated their lifestyle- sporting chains, diamonds, and expensive designer clothes purchased for him by his girlfriends, who were themselves a little more than accessories for Williams. In public, Williams lived the street life exalted in his favorite rap anthems, yet at the end of the day he returned to a home literally crammed with thousands of books, each carefully studied and underlined by his father, “Pappy,” who revered learning and critical thinking above all else.

Four Our Sons: Film featuring role models for young black men makes its way across the USA

Without extravagant fan fare or media hype, an awe-inspiring documentary for Black families is quietly making its way across the United States. This astonishing film, “For Our Sons,” takes as its subject the plight of all newly born and even unborn young Black children in America. The story centers on the horrendous statistic that in the United States of America, 1 out of every 3 mostly fatherless Black boys born between 2000 and 2010 will spend some time of their lives in prison.

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