Most of what is written these days about young black men and women emphasizes incarceration and mortality rates, teen pregnancy, drug use, and domestic strife. This collection of sixteen autobiographical essays by African-Americans, Africans in America, Afro-Caribbean and biracial college students who have tackled significant obstacles to achieve success and degrees of self-understanding offers a broader, more hopeful portrait of the adolescent experiences of minority youth. Here are emotionally honest and reflective stories of economic hardship, racial bias, loneliness, and anger--but also of positive role models, spiritual awakening, perseverance, and racial pride.
In these essays, students explore the process of self-discovery and the realization of cultural identity. The pieces are accompanied by commentary from prominent African-American scholars, such as Jewelle Taylor Gibbs and Peter C. Murrell, Jr. Together they create a vivid portrait of what it is like to grow up as a black person in America, and offer a springboard to current debates about self-discovery, cultural identity and assimilation.
Often raw and painful, always honest and affecting, this collection of personal stories written by young people stands as an eloquent tribute to the courage of today's youth and to the power of their own words.
"The accounts are both thought-provoking and extremely intimate. This book is well done and sure to create a platform for discussion and reflection. Maybe through these voices we can all learn some compassion and understanding.."
..."black and biracial students write with unabashed honesty and directness...rhythmic...the students clearly communicate the 'transformative power in both the hearing and telling of [their] stories'."
"Deep levels of exploration of the kind presented here can weaken some of today's myths and help us grapple honestly with some of the still to be explained mysteries of racism...a giant contribution to the literature."
-From the foreword by James P. Comer
"The accounts [of the African American adolescents] are both thought-provoking and extremely intimate. This book is well done and sure to create a platform for discussion and reflection. Maybe through these voices we can all learn some compassion and understanding."
-Booklist, June 1, 1999
"This remarkable collection of first-person narratives brings the voices of black and biracial students into a new conversation about human development. As the students open their souls to reflect on their experiences of childhood and adolescence, they invite us to think with them about the effects of racism and also about courage, resistance and hope. This book is for everyone."
-Carol Gilligan, author of "In a Different Voice