English 4850 Portfolio Kendrick Rashad Brown

Reflective Table of Contents

  1. My Multi-genre project – My multi-genre project examines dreams from the point of view of 11 year old Emma and her 7 year old brother Willie.
  2. The lesson plan from your student-led lesson – Player’s play, teachers teach, everybody writes defines the duties of an English teacher pertaining to writing. The class explored how different the experience of writing is for each person.
  3. Sample of peers writing
  4. My memoir – My memoir captures the lives of four high school teammates in one of our most challenging yet happiest times in our lives. We travel back to when the only thing that matter was in between white spray painted lines. I interview my former teammates/classmates on how soccer impacted their lives.
  5. Blog Post –
  6. My Poem – Birthmark exposes the raw feelings of a young black man in American growing weary and vulnerable to his country’s law enforcement. While he feel unwanted in his country, he also grows impatient with the exploitation of his people’s talents and advancements. ‘
  7. My Sample Writing - The African American Community in the United States has fought its way through hardship since their forced transportation in the 1600’s. If slavery was not enough hardship, attaining freedom and equality has been a journey just as treacherous. One of the basic building blocks of life, family, has suffered from inequality, injustice, poverty, and violence in the African American community. As a result, Black America has struggled in striving for equality and cultivating productive citizens. The condition of the African American family has been ignored by many in America. The writers of the text Race, work, and Family in the Lives of African Americans believes that the condition of the African American family is overlooked because while only a few black families found success and stability, this was thought to be the case and condition for all African Americans. This paper seeks to analyze the state of the black nuclear family and analyze the effects of slavery, poverty, mass incarceration, inequality of education, divorce, and the conception, birth, and raising of illegitimate children in the African American community. In no way, shape, or form does this paper intend to place blame on any particular person or people but rather to internalize the dismal state of a group of people and correct the problem at its root. African Americans endured the agony and bitterness of their enslavement and remain to this day fighting for liberation and the basic inalienable rights that this country states in its creed. The African American family is a broken foundation that cannot go unfixed. Failure to internalize, communicate, evaluate, and act on the problem may lead to the continuance of the perpetual oppression of these people.

A Multigenre Presentation: Nobody’s family is going to change Louise Fitzhugh

By: Kendrick Rashad Brown

Dear Reader,

Isn’t it a great day to dream? Louise Fitzhugh’s novel Nobody’s Family is Going to Change is an excellent young adolescent novel about the emancipation of two siblings who feel the constraints of childhood. Louise Fitzhugh (October 5, 1928 – November 19, 1974) was an American author, born in Memphis, Tennessee. The reader gets a chair sitting at the kitchen table with an African American middle class family. Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan, their 11 year old daughter Emma, and their seven year old son Willie. Emma is a bright young girl with aspirations to be a lawyer like her father. Willie is a talented young dancer who had dreams of making it big like his grandfather, Ms. Sheridan’s father. The patriarch of the family, Mr. Sheridan, has made a comfortable life for his family and openly rejects the possibility of Emma and Willie following their dreams.

This collection of projects are based on dreaming. Pursuing dreams are powerful, life-altering moments in our lives when we are the happiest. Many of these works were inspired by Lansgton Hughes’ poem Harlem. Hughes is an African American poet during the Harlem Renaissance; a time period in art that captivated a culture and effect everyone who comes in contact with any artifact from the that time. IT is the spirit of the African American dream.

Harlem

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Expository piece

Willie and Emma’s Dreams

“Women lawyers are idiots! They’re the laughingstock of any group of lawyers. I think any woman who tries to be a lawyer is a damned fool.”

Both Emma and Willie’s dreams are in jeopardy living with their parents. Both have desires that their parents disapprove of. As hard as the two sibling try to get their parents to believe that they know what they want and are capable of, their efforts go in vain. Emma is very intelligent and aspires to be a lawyer. Despite her great potential, her parents see the hardships and obstacles that would come with being an African American lawyer. They ignore her and try to persuade her to become something more practical for a black women. Willie has a passion and the talent to be a phenomenal dancer. However, with a father that fears his sexuality being altered and a mother who knows the show business all too well, he may stifled before getting a chance to chase his dream. These siblings are at odds with their parents and are fighting for their right to their pursuit of happiness. Emma and Willie may be suffering from parental oppression, yet their parents are confident that they know what is best for their kids. Despite their parents’ efforts to extinguish their dreams, Emma and Willie continue to work on their crafts and strive to be all they want to become. These two are ambitious kids that refuse to have their dreams taken away from them. Willie dances his way onto a Broadway cast and Emma finds herself joining a group of kids with the same passion as she does for fighting for children’s right. Emma and Willie resist conforming to the ideas of their parents and continue to chase their dreams. It is this determination, effort, and attitude that allowed the dreams they believed in to manifest themselves.

Emma and Willie are middle class young African Americans. They are fortunate to be able to view the world as an opportunity rather than a place of survival. With this confidence, they have the freedom to pursue their interests and chase their dreams. The problem comes in with their age. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan, want the best for their children and have experience in the two things they would life to pursue. They are against both Willie and Emma pursuing their dreams because of their gender. Dancing is considered to be feminine and law is considered a masculine position. They fear for Willie’s sexuality and future as well as Emma’s success. Mr. Sheridan believed his life work put him in a place to keep his from the things they desired but were not acceptable to him. In the novel, Mr. Sheridan explains his opinion about his children entering the dancing profession by saying, “Everything’s entirely different now. What do you think I work myself to death for? My kid’s got every chance in the world. He doesn’t have to run around dancing, making a fool of himself, laughing and scratching to make honkies laugh. He’s got the world ahead of him (45).” Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan want the best for their children but do not see that they have their own loves to love despite their age. Just as hard as Mr. Sheridan worked to get to where he is, his kids are working that hard to obtain their dreams. In all his efforts he is only pushing them to do the impossible. The passion and resilience to being told who they were supposed to be fueled the fire inside them persevere through the obstacles against them.

Willie had to endure being ridiculed and ostracized for his desire to be a dancer. His father was unable to see past the sexuality of many people that choose the dancing profession. He feared that Willie would be soft and would not be the man he intended for him to be. Willie is actually stronger than his family believes. Emma was a contributor to Willies oppression at first. She hated to see him dance all the time and tried to bring him down frequently. However, in the novel, when thinking of Willie’s situation, she realizes “Willie didn’t seem to be afraid of anything. She, Emma, had tried to make him afraid of anything. She, Emma, had tried to make him afraid on many occasions. She thought of this now with the beginnings of shame (111).” Emma realized that Willie is fighting just like she is and that dancing hadn’t made him soft in any way. Emma is constantly being ignored by her father in her pursuit of knowledge in law. Her mother also condemns her and tells her focus on being a wife and mother in the future. She has to remain strong for both herself and for Willie whom she has to speak up for. By remaining strong and continuing to go for what they wanted, they were able to accomplish things that would help them on their way to their goals.

Willie’s passion led him to a Broadway addition with his uncle. He was not supposed to be around his uncle, let alone travel across town to see him in a theatre. Willie danced as hard as he ever danced and earned a spot in a Broadway show. He knew this was undesirable by his parents but still took a chance. Had he had went if his parents supported him is to be undecided. However, it definitely pushed him to want to dance even more. Emma was also pushed away from her dreams and chose to join the Children’s Army. This gave her the chance to explore law through more relatable cases. Both siblings’ dreams are put through trials and tribulations and have to cling to their dreams in order to keep their sanity. Their parents are trying to try to keep them safe and secure their future; but they are actually pushing their head strong children closer to their dreams. They’re dreams are under attack in their nation, state, and their home. Emma and Willie are believers in themselves and their dreams and through their determination and hard work get closer to their dreams.

Ode to Dreaming

By Kendrick Rashad Brown

Does a dream die, Langston?

Who killed yours, Martin?

There should be sympathy for the man who dares to dream

Who actually seeks true happiness

Who stands in the rain alone.

I dream out loud for those who wish they could

The dancer who became a doctor

The president who become a teacher

Spent your whole life looking for answers to a self-loathing question

Who are you?

And you want to give an answer but you can’t

You know the truth, but won’t admit it

You aren’t who they say you are

And you aren’t even who you say you are

So let me ask again

Did it die, Langston?

Is it finally free Martin?

Willie’s Interview with Time Magazine

-Hi Willie! How are you today

-I’m fine.

-Do you know who I am?

-Yes. You’re the time lady from the magazine!

-I’m a columnist for Time Magazine sweetie. I’m here to ask you about your dancing career so far. Is that okay?

-Yes ma’am.

-Great! So how did you start dancing?

-My Uncle Dipsey is the best dancer I’ve ever seen! I just wanted to have something in common with him. I got pretty good at it and fell in love with dancing.

-And you’re pretty good too. How long do you want to dance?

-For however long I can. I love dancing.

- How does the rest of your family feel about you dancing?

-Well, I don’t think they like it very much.

-Why not?

-I’m not a sissy.

-I didn’t say you were. Have you heard that before?

-They think if I keep dancin’ I’ll be one.

-Well that’s just not true.

-Then why do they say it so much to me?

-Maybe they just don’t understand, Willie.

-But you do.

- No I don’t. But I can try to see it from your eyes. Anybody could and should at least try.

- I wish they did. But I’ll show them when I make it to Broadway.

-That’s where you want to go?

-That’s where I’m heading.

-Well good for you. You get to dream.

-Do you get to dream, Ma’am.

-When I was your age, yes.

Story of Willie touring

Willie’s had a growth spurt at dance camp over the summer. His tights that once sagged on him now barely touched his ankles when pulled to his waist. His shirts stopped at his belly button. Of course many of the other dancer’s though nothing of this. He looked more like them now. He leaped like a gazelle with his long legs. His movements were much more graceful and he moved freely across the dance floor. He knew, his peers knew, and all the instructors knew he was substantially ahead of the other children. He was the best.

At the end of the day, the dancers would move all the tables and chairs in the cafeteria and have dance battles for fun. Most of the day consist of technical training and this was their way of winding down. They would “sneak” out of their cabin after curfew (the instructors always knew where 100 screaming dancers were).Willie would be stand in the inside of the circle and struggle to fully contain his excitement. He loved competing against the dancers. He had won every dance battle he had been challenged to. He didn’t really care about winning, however. He just loved dancing. In fact, he loved dancing so much that he had forgot what life was like with his family. He missed them all; Mom, dad, and even Emma a little. He was the farthest camper away from home. He had been so lost in dance that he forgot his parents, sister, and Uncle Dipsey were coming to pick him up a day early.

The last night of camp the kids were extra excited about dancing for fun one last time. They even let the instructors join in. Willie was in rare form. He did a shuffle-ball-change and two flaps and stop when her heard a familiar voice call his name. He turned towards the sound and immediately stopped moving. It was his father. He had a disgusted look on his face as he sized his son up. Willie knew immediately what he was thinking. As if the life had been sucked out of him, Willie dragged himself out the circle.

“Hey dad,” Willie said dryly.

Mr. Sheridan immediately embraced his son aggressively and squeezed him very tight.

“I miss you, man. Look how grown you are!”

Willie smiled. He was surprised his father was so calm. What could have gotten into him?

“Dad, are you okay?” Willie asked.

“I just missed you at home, son. You’re my main man! I know we don’t always see eye to eye; but you are my son and I love you.”

Willie smiled hard. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. His father had never spoken to him this way before. Willie actually wanted to cry, but he figured that would ruin the moment with his father.

Bibliography

Fitzhugh, L. (1974). New York, NY: Ig Publishing

Hughes, L. (1994). Harlem. Retrieved April 9, 2017, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46548

My Student-led Lesson

Sample of Student's Writing

MAR

6

Writing Prompt: Personal Lives and Sweet Learning

As an attempt to further incorporating our personal lives and experiences into the classroom, students will take their journals (an installment of free writes about life and unique experiences over the course of a month) and write an essay creating a story about something unique you may have experienced. Craft this experience into the form of a narrative, creative writing time, or short story. Essays should be polished and follow standard writing procedures.

For me, I would create a short story about the high school I attended. It was largely minority-based, and with that my experience with clubs and sports allowed me access to a brotherhood based upon many colors and cultures. There was a camaraderie built off of a common interest, whether it be to win, to succeed, or to properly display or compete. This created in me a very "normalization" around groups that may not always normally be associated with one another or share life. It is an experience that I think can be beneficial for others to learn about and understand as a way to bring diversity together and celebrate it.

Posted 6th March by Drew Huskey

My Memoir

The Game of Life

Most days were hot and humid. When I ran on the field it felt like every breath required twice the effort it normally took. My jersey is soaked, my feet hurt from the cleats you are wearing, and that ankle I had been lying about for the past month is the size of an orange. However, I hardly notice. There is about ten minutes left in the game and I feel a sudden since of urgency. “Finish the job,” coach says. My teammates and I stay silent. They look at me, I look at them. Without any words everyone’s deepest desires are shared. Winning. I wanted to win. I wanted to be a champion. All my teammates did. However, the difference was that I was willing to take things in to my own hands. To recall this moment more clearly, I decided to speak with teammates about our journey. I knew how I felt. I knew what I want. My personal goals for myself came to the forefront every time the whistle blew to start the game. In those moments, I wish I knew how my brothers felt. Was Chris nervous? Did Scott feel like playing today? He and his girlfriend had a fight the other day. I thought these things were vital to our success. I was never one to bring my personal problems on the field. But I knew it wasn’t that easy for others. I chose my teammates to write on the good times we had and the game we all shared a passion for. What I ended up with was a reunion with my brothers. Catching up was necessary before we spoke on the past. This is when it occurred to me that the season I remember playing with these guys were a lot like our lives. How we prepared help us face obstacles that came our way; and win, lose, or draw we had to deal with our performance.

I’d like to take time to describe my interviewees. I chose the goalie, Scott, for the pregame. His preparation was key. He had to move like lightning and his mind could ONLY be on defending our goal. I chose a defender, Chris, to discuss the ending of the game. Chris. He had to keep his head. The other team may score, but staying calm, focused, and disciplined was the key to not allowing another goal. Finally, I chose to talk to one of the best scorers on our team. Orrin had to always think ahead to score. I decided to talk to him about what the future held for him and how the absence of soccer has affected him and what had he taken from our journey. I wanted to explore the past, what was the present, and how both affected the future. The pregame, the competition, and dealing with the results.

Scott: Pregame

Scott is a bright and intelligent fellow plagued with laziness. I feel like I was the only person that saw his shining moments. He’s creative and has a great sense of humor. While the rest of the team had been dressed for thirty minutes, Scott couldn’t get dressed until he saw the other team’s colors. Goalies wear color different from either team or the referees. His preparation for the game was unique. It reflected his way of life. He was calm, cool, and in high spirits until he lost his temper. I asked him what he felt like he had to do before a game.

“I just follow did whatever felt like. If we were focused we would go to the field. If I didn’t care I would probably go with my friends to eat and play video games or whatever.”

That was our lifestyle. We cared when it mattered. More preparation would have gotten our city a championship. Those lessons only come after you come up short. Well for us it did. I asked Scott to look back on himself with honesty. I asked him what he would tell himself at 17 just before a game.

“This is as good as it gets. I’d tell him to put his all into school and soccer and care about his future.”

Preparation for the game was a big part of playing any sport. It includes practice and the time off the field. What took place on the field often overshadows what we do before. The game is only a result of a team’s preparation. From studying to saving money to running sprints, what we do in life, echoes in eternity.

Chris: The Game

Chris and I never talked in the game. It was quite ironic because we talked so much to each other off the field. Chris was laid back and kept to himself a lot. A lot like myself. We didn’t want to be vocal leaders. We wanted everyone to play like us. We played hard. We practiced hard. We’d even text about the game and practice afterwards. Chris was a worker. He always rose to the occasion.

“When you’re a leader and you want to be great, you want EVERYBODY to be great.”

Chris was a captain as a sophomore because of his passion and stellar. The mindset he had put him in position to be a great player. I could see the passion in his eyes. I asked him which lost felt the worst:

“Definitely my last game senior year. Only because it was the last game. Honestly every lost felt the same. You want to win badly but when you’re losing it’s hard to keep that optimism and happiness.”

The game was all about the present. Our present attitude, our present performance, and our present choices either lead to our success or downfall. Chris still wishes he could have given more when he played. As do I.

Orrin: Post Game

Orrin was the scoring power. He was the name that was chanted. He had to deal with success and failure more than all of us. The game was in his hands many times. I asked what was the hardest part about losing with the game in your control:

“You let everybody down. You see it in their face and their eyes; no matter how sympathetic they are.”

I asked how this has affected his life after soccer.

“I know pressure. I know how to respond and react to sudden obstacles and changes. People have counted on me before so I step up to the plate easier now.”

The decisions we make in the present matter the most. The present one day becomes the past. Those past decisions often haunt us but they set the context for us to do the right thing in the present for the future. My brothers reflect on the game. We reflect and cherish those memories because that have had a hand in the person we are today. Pre games taught us to prepare for any and everything by working hard and making smart decisions. The game taught us how to fight. We learned to find out what we wanted and go for it no matter how difficult the battle may be. If we do those things, the post-game is not that bad. Win or lose we gave our all. For the love of the game.

Blog Posts

Link: http://kendrickclemson.blogspot.com/

Top 3:

  1. Poem on my name
  2. Express yourself!
  3. Favorite Short Story

My Birthmark

This is a newly revised version of my poem Birthmark that I would like to share.

Birthmark

By: Kendrick Brown

I was born with a target on my back

Washed my hands too many times trying to wash off the black

Because I live in a system that exploits my condition

Then have the nerve to give off a stigma

where the fate of my fellow blacks is

We either run track or fall victim to crack

So it all comes down to this

They say the system is working

And frankly I’m quite pissed

Because how am I supposed to stomach

All these years of abuse

When you’ve been spoon feeding me inspiration

But we all know that HOPE

Is freedom’s substitute….

I was born with a target on my back

Washed my hands too many times trying to wash off the black

It doesn’t work so I put my fist up

As if I lift up

The strength, abilities, and talents that God gives us

Although we face opposition

I think I’ll keep this target on my back

For I’m the one they’ll keep missing

My Birthmark

Sample of My Work

Kendrick Brown

Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?

By Antwan Fisher

Who will cry for the little boy?

Lost and all alone.

Who will cry for the little boy?

Abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy?

He cried himself to sleep.

Who will cry for the little boy?

He never had for keeps.

Who will cry for the little boy?

He walked the burning sand

Who will cry for the little boy?

The boy inside the man.

Who will cry for the little boy?

Who knows well hurt and pain

Who will cry for the little boy?

He died again and again.

Who will cry for the little boy?

A good boy he tried to be

Who will cry for the little boy?

Who cries inside of me

The 2002 American biographical drama film, Antwone Fisher, is a story of an African American male who had to endure hardships his whole life. The movie starts with mid-twenties Antwone dreaming he was a young boy walking to a barn in a pasture. The great doors open and he sees a long table with an assortment of different foods surrounded by what is believed to be his family. Contrary to the dream, Fisher’s life was filled with loneliness and abuse. One of the major reasons for Antwone’s unhappy past is his lack of family. This is detrimental to an African American boy who already feels like he is in a country that does not want or care about his existence. Family is one of the only things that help produce productive African American citizens. One of the basic building blocks of life, family, has suffered from inequality, injustice, poverty, and violence in the African American community. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an American politician and sociologist, wrote in The Negro Family: The Case for National Action wrote that the fundamental problem in the oppressive circumstances of the African American community is the family structure[1] (Moynihan). As a result, Black America has struggled in attaining equality and cultivating productive citizens. The main scene in the movie is Fisher’s downward spiraling adult life. Reliving and trying to understand his past helps him to make himself vulnerable for change. With no family, Fisher seeks answers to why his life was so unfortunate. He wonders why all this pain was brought on a little black boy who done nothing to harm anyone. The poem captures the pain in Fisher’s life and the one question he desires the answer to. Who will cry for him? Who will have pity on the boy who is only a victim of circumstance? Reciting this poem in the movie is when Fisher has a breakthrough. He answers his own question by saying he will. He will cry for the little boy because that is the only person who ever cared. Life broke him down and in return he broke himself even more. Family keeps people from breaking. Many African Americans find themselves trying to figure out who will cry for them. Family cries for you. However, the black family’s is in its own state of brokenness due to the inequality, injustice, poverty, and violence inflicted upon them.

One of the most important hardships African descendants in American had to endure was slavery. Black life in American was stifled in its growth because of slavery. Many of the effects are still visible in the African American community today. A lot of this comes from the deprivation of family. Families were often split and never saw each other again. The exercise of power by many slave owners allowed the forced sexual intercourse with many slave women. This destroyed the dynamic between the black man and the black woman. Any attempt to create and upkeep a nuclear family often resulted in the sexual abuse of the women and the psychological castration of the male. Slaves were powerless and kept from anything that they could draw power from. Roots were severed because the white America knew how powerful the black masses could be. To keep them in their preferred place, violence was inflicted on slaves to condition them to work in fear. The senseless beatings conditioned African Americans to believe that violence was the way to rear their children. This created a problem in the black community. Lessons were not learned, only punishment was served. In Antwan Fisher, Antwan recalls being punished for any and everything unacceptable in his foster mother’s eyes. Physical punishment is a significant part to the black family. This is how most children are reared. They learn to avoid getting beat, not the difference between right and wrong. Antwone Fisher was abused as a child and never learn proper behavior. He does believe, however, that violence solves all his problems. Slave mentalities stifle black America from their liberation. Chains are no longer used because the shackles are around the mind. Proper education is key the black family succeeding. However, for the longest time American has ignored the blatant inequalities between the education of white education America and the miseducation of Black America.

The key to the liberation of a group of people is education. Proper education could have propelled black life to great heights. However, black free life was even more useless to America than their enslavement. Free blacks were mistreated and unable to reap the benefits of America. African Americans were not afforded the standard education from the United States. White America was against sharing anything with black America and had no intentions on changing that mindset. What resulted was the inequality in education between the two groups of people and the widening of the achievement gap. The lack of quality education in the African American community was ignored by White America. While institutions of public education in predominantly white areas in the United States received receive funding and trained teachers, predominantly black areas had little to no materials, unsubstantial buildings to learn and teach in, and unqualified teachers. These conditions were ignored by the majority of white America. Learning in a Burning House Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)integration By Sonya Douglass Horsford argues

“White scholars not only possess a racial standpoint that is different from those of the superintendents featured here, but they enjoy the privilege of being able to speak about the virtues of school desegregation without having lived through come of the challenges and negative consequences associated with school desegregation without having lived through some of the challenges and negative consequences associated with school desegregation as experienced by Black students, educators, and communities[2] (Horsford 77).”

The state of Black education being ignored by the United State results in the continual growth in the achievement gap. To this day, schools in predominantly white areas are becoming more and more advanced while both urban and rural predominantly black areas suffer from an inadequate education system; furthering the continual miseducation of the negro. This has harsh effects on the black family. Uneducated parents have uneducated children who repeat the cycle because of what opportunities they are limited to because of a lack of education. Uneducated children in an uneducated community will only result in more mediocrity. Frustration is built up in the home of the nuclear family because of the perpetual oppression and living circumstances for children go unchecked. Troubles in the home directly impact a child’s ability to learn and often times these children are misdiagnosed by the school. Remedial classes and special education haunt the black community today because of its tendency to take away child’s opportunity to be something in this world when the problem could be rectified with the trained staff that fills the halls of the predominantly white schools and not the predominantly black schools. Fisher’s lack of proper education lead him to an avenue that is too familiar with the black male population, the military. The biggest threat to white America is the black man.

In addition to concluding that disproportionate high school dropout, unemployment, and imprisonment rates can be linked to “this widespread, deep, systemic failure to educate African American males as efficiently as their “white counterparts,” it also found states and most districts with large African American enrollments can educate some children, but do not educate the majority of their African American boys (burning 18).”

The miseducation of African American was deliberately pushed widespread across America; leaving families to make do with what they had. As African American men pushed for liberation and equal freedom and representation. American fought them every step of the way with the lack of concern for the education of African Americans. This further affected how the black nuclear family balanced and existed. With men unable to contribute, it often drove more divide in the community leading to a perpetual state of dysfunction.

The patriarchal society of American led to the further destruction of the black nuclear family. The nineteenth-century ideology of a breadwinner homemaker family affected a group of people who did not have the privilege of living off one person’s labor. The key to the black family in America is cohesiveness and team work. Already oppressed people have a way of reflecting what is done to them. African American Relationships, Marriages, and Families STATES that “black men were rarely able to secure the kinds of jobs that allowed them to become economic providers[3] (Durr 74). This made it difficult for black men to hold their desired patriarchal status. Women had to step up man make their house a duo-income household. Lack of stability in jobs for black men sometimes found the household to be a single-income household. Black men found themselves not in control of their home and therefore useless to the nuclear family.

African American single mothers are very common in black households. One of the most oppressed people in the United States is accustomed to being a breadwinner and the sole provider for her children. More often than not, this task finds itself to be extremely difficult. Black single mother’s find their back against the wall often. They are easy targets for oppression and injustice. The absence of a father continues the cycle. Little black boys do not know what is like to have a father and have no idea how to be a father. Little black girls often have no positive men in their lives and as a result often end up in the same position as their mother. The males that do continue to strive to put food on the table find themselves breaking the law in order to make ends meet. Lack of opportunity and education places the African American male in desperation. He then turns to illegal actions, contributing to the crime rate in America, further depreciating the reputation of black American. Mass incarceration has impacted the Black community greatly. However, if a little black boy had a father with a proper education and equal employment opportunities, he could grow into a productive citizen in America. If the little black girl saw her father well employed and educated respecting her well employed educated mother, she took would have the tools to access the American dream.

Within the Black community, nuclear families with both parents are praised and highly thought of. For many, Antwone Fisher’s life is not an abnormity. The Antwone Fisher story depicts the life of an African American man who has been abused and oppressed. The African American community can relate the plight of Fisher, just wanting to feel belonged. At the end of the movie, Antwone looks his trouble past literally in the face and meets his family that he never knew existed. Family gives everyone a place to being. Even as refugees, taken from their homes, it was the African American community becoming a family that led to their survival. It will be the nuclear family that will lead African Americans to prosperity. The African American family often resembles the dysfunctionality within the black community. This is because having all components of a nuclear family is not enough. African Americans have to be afforded equal education and opportunity before the African American family can have an impact. White America knew the strength the African American community could draw from family, obstacles and hardships that could have been changed by public policy ensued because of the lack of concern for the African American community. So who will cry for the little boy? Who will cry for millions of African American who suffer from the past wrongs done to them and their ancestors? A cohesive black family/community cry for each other and an educated and liberated black family/community can begin to fix the damage that has been done.

Bibliography

Antwone Fisher. Directed by Denzel Washington. Produced by Denzel Washington, Todd Black, Randa Haines, and Antwone Quenton Fisher. By Antwone Quenton Fisher. Performed by Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and Novella Nelson.

Buckley, Gail Lumet. The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016.

Dixon, Patricia. African American Relationships, Marriages, and Families: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Durr, Marlese, and Shirley A. Hill. Race, Work, and Family in the Lives of African Americans. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.

Horsford, Sonya Douglass. Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (dis)integration. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011.

United States. Department of Labor. Office of Policy Planning and Research. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Washington: For Sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1965.

[1] United States. Department of Labor. Office of Policy Planning and Research. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Washington: For Sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1965.

[2] Horsford, Sonya Douglass. Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (dis)integration. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011.

[3] Durr, Marlese, and Shirley A. Hill. Race, Work, and Family in the Lives of African Americans. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.

Piece of Creative Writing

Kendrick Brown

Safe

A strong kick sent the patio door to ground and the two teenage boys rushed in the house. The Malhotra house was cozy and full of furniture. It was quiet. The two boys had staked out the house for three weeks prior to breaking in. The couple’s cars were not in the driveway tonight, so the boys thought that they had the opportunity to make a come up.

T.J. and PeeWee carefully navigated through the living room looking for anything that might be of value. The house smelled like recently cooked food. Probably something fried.

The smell made Peewee’s stomach do somersaults. He hadn’t eaten a thing since the day before. Food was scarce in his home and he saved his portion of tonight’s dinner to give his little sister tomorrow morning.

The two boys got out their bags and flashlights and perused the house. Only the living room and the kitchen were on first floor. There was nothing really to grab except the nice silverware in the kitchen. After collecting all of the utensils, the two boys nodded to one another to go upstairs. Peewee entered what seemed to be a high school boy’s room and found nothing valuable while T.J. entered what looked like a young girl’s room and found nothing as well.

They both met right in front of the master bedroom’s door. T.J. counted to three and they entered the room. Immediately, both boys noticed that two people were in the bed. The couple woke up and with blurry vision looked at the two boys.

Peewee quickly pulled out a gun. T.J. was so surprised that his best friend had a gun that he couldn’t get any words out. They had agreed to go in the house because it looked like no one was home. T.J. thought that taking a gun would mean they had intentions of using it. The last thing he wanted was take to someone’s life. He just wanted to have money for the first time in his life. He wanted to be normal. He knew Peewee had an attraction to the life they saw around them; but he never thought he would see his friend aim a gun at someone for money that wasn’t his.

“Please. Take whatever you want. Don’t shoot us, we have children,” The wife said.

The husband reached under the bed to grab his pistol. That was the wrong move.

Peewee had never shot a gun before. He was surprised that the trigger was so sensitive. He let off three shots that entered the man’s neck and head.

The wife stared in shock at her husband’s limp body. She became hysterical. She wanted to scream but couldn’t. She wanted to cry but would not give the two the satisfaction. Peewee paused for a moment, took a deep breathe, and shot the women in her head.

“Case the fucking room,” Peewee said.

T.J. could not believe what he had just witnessed. He wanted to drop everything he had and run home, but he remembered the reason he agreed to the robbery was because he had no home. He and his mother were evicted a week ago and had been living in their car. The two boys searched around the room and found nothing. T.J. moved the man’s slumped body out of the way and looked under the bed. Jackpot. The couple had a safe. The two boys lifted the safe and left the house.

Throwing the safe in the trunk, the boys drove back across town to the projects. The two put the safe in Peewee’s house and they laid in the uncomfortable twin bed, although neither boy could sleep that night.

The North Heaven Projects during the summer was the ultimate test of survival. You had to be smart, strong, and determined to not get killed or thrown in jail. Kids out of school meant that parents had to spend more money on food. The buildings smelled like locker rooms because no one had the money to have the air conditioning on. The other parts of the city called the people that lived there roaches.

One reason was because there wasn’t a room in the building roaches were not in. Another reason had to do with drugs. A roach is a term to describe the end of a blunt a marijuana.

The apartments were nice places until twenty years ago when a drug dealer named Arjun Malhotra moved in. He only sold marijuana in his first couple years there. Everything was fine. The people were even happier than before he moved in. Then he decided to make more money by bringing crack into the apartments. So now North Heaven seems to look a lot like hell.

Arjun and his family have moved to the other side of town where it was safer. They drove nice cars and live in a nice house. No one other than his foot soldiers knew he sold drugs. They took a vow of secrecy and patrolled the long and dark halls of the apartment buildings selling his drugs. Peewee and T.J. had spent all their lives in these apartments. Learning how to survive. They knew everyone in the projects. The people were kind to them. They saw that they could really do something with their lives.

The obituary read: Theresa (51) and Arjun Malhotra (52) were killed in an armed burglary at their home in Detroit, Michigan on June 25, 2014. They are survived by their two children Muhammed and Mia. Theresa was a hotel manager at the Pavilion Hotel for 13 years, where she worked for 24 years. Arjun was the owner of the Gassy gas station on Piedmont Road. They were a joy to be around and loved by everyone in the community. Funeral services are incomplete at the moment.

Peewee closed the paper and turned to T.J.

“I think we’re in the clear as long as we don’t go ball out all of a sudden,” Peewee said.

“What the hell were you thinking,” said T.J., wanting to jump across the table and strangle Peewee. Too bad Peewee is a good 150 pounds heavier than T.J. and an all-area running back for the second year in a row. T.J. was tall and lanky. He was the brains of the duo. He had a 4.0 GPA until he had to drop out in early August to get a job and help his mother pay rent.

“Bro, what would have happened if we were slipping? Then WE would have been in the obituary,” Peewee said.

T.J. leaned back in his chair. Peewee was right. That gun had saved his both of their lives; but now, Peewee was a murderer and T.J. was an accomplice. From now one, every move they made had to be with solidarity and precision.

“So I was thinking we get a pool in the backyard. Well after we hit the club,” Peewee said.

“Yo, you kidding, right?” T.J. said while rising from his chair. He usually bottled his anger; but Peewee’s idiotic idea struck a nerve. “We’re still in the first 48, and you talking about a damn pool? We gotta get rid of this gun, and we don’t even know if we got any money.”

“Relax,” Peewee said. “They droves Benzes and they were paying for Muhammed’s college expenses. They lived humble but I know they had bread.”

T.J. paused to think.

“Look, we don’t know anything until we get the safe open. Come on,” Peewee said.

The two went to the safe and tried everything possible. A combination was needed on the safe’s door. The two punched in every set of numbers they could think of. Nothing seemed to open the safe. It was getting close to seven and T.J. had to go get his mother from work. While riding to the hospital, Peewee called to say that Candace, his little sister, had cracked the combination. He would have turned the car around to knock Peewee senseless, but he only had enough gas to get his mom and park his car for the night. He decided to park close to the projects, although not too close, so while his mother slept, he could go scold Peewee for his negligence. He didn’t worry about Candace getting them in trouble or running her mouth. She was project bred; they all knew the consequences for snitching. What T.J. worried was her being forced into a life of lies and running. She didn’t deserve to pay for their actions. She was only ten. However, he felt no ten-year-old deserved to go hungry as well.

It was late in the night when T.J. and his mother reached the lot two blocks down from the projects. This was where other homeless people parked their cars at night. It was mostly families. The police made a deal with the inhabitants: as long as they kept the lot peaceful, they had the police’s protection and secrecy from the department of social service. Nobody wanted to see families torn apart.

T.J.’s mother was fast asleep before they even arrived. He leaned her seat all the way back slowly and placed a blanket over her body. He kissed her forehead before getting out of the car.

Walking to Peewee’s place, T.J. fought back tears. He couldn’t believe what he and his best friend had done. Peewee was a murderer and he was the mastermind behind an armed robbery. He wanted to scream. He wanted to lay face down on the sidewalk and just cry until the tears wouldn’t fall anymore. He didn’t know whether to cry for the Malhotra family, or his current situation, or the unfair circumstances that led him here. He made straight A’s. He was on the debate team, and he sang with the school chorus. He received a partial scholarship to the state college not far from his hometown. However, half the bill was to be paid out of his own pocket. His mom worked at the same hospital for eleven years and had never been late or called out a single day. Yet they couldn’t afford to have a home. While the world sought justice for his wrong doings, who sought justice for the wrong committed towards him and his mom?

T.J. entered Peewee’s house and headed straight for his friend’s bedroom. When he entered, he saw 10 sets dollars bills stacked about 5 inches high. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He suddenly remembered Candace.

“Yo, your sister see this?” T.J. said.

“No, I only cracked it once she opened it. She think I got it from Smelly Joe that lives over in 9C. I told her I got it for all our valuables,” Peewee said.

“Smooth. So I’ve been thinking about what to do with the money. What do you think of doing something that can help more people than just us?” T.J. said.

“You want to be a humanitarian with murder money?” Peewee asked.

“Man. I’m talking about making the community better. Besides, America was built on stolen land and cultivated by slaves. This is the American dream,” T.J. said.

Before Peewee could respond, there was a hard knock on the door. Peewee peeped out the window, and saw a two police cars and an unmarked police car. The boys looked at each other, terrified.

“Let’s put this money up, and get the door. We’re not suspects until we start acting suspect,” T.J. said even though he could feel his heart about to beat out of his chest. The boys put on pleasant smile and opened the door.

“Good afternoon officers,” Peewee said.

“Hi, guys. I am officer Thomas Williams. I was told I could find Trevor Johnson here.”

“What do you want with Trevor Johnson?” T.J. asked.

“Do you know him? If so, we really need help finding him. It’s about his mother.”

“What’s up with my mom,” T.J. asked. He felt his heart drop.

“Relax, man. She’s fine. Trust me,” Officer Williams said. He paused a moment and took a deep breath. This was the hard part.

“It has come to our attention that you and your mother were evicted a short time ago. I know you’re seventeen, but I need you to come with us until your mom can find a place,” the officer said.

“He can stay with us! We have room,” Peewee shouted.

The officer looked around the decrepit apartment. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Besides, we have to do this formally. Look, I know this is hard. You guys have to let us do our job. It’s for the best.”

“Naw, I don’t want to hear that. Foster care?! You want to put my best friend in foster care, Peewee said angrily.

“It’s for the best. Besides, there is still a killer on the loose. We haven’t found the person that killed the Malhotras, the officer said.

The boys froze where they were. They had almost forgotten they had fifty thousand dollars upstairs.

T.J. decided to go with the officer to social services. He was placed in a teen home in another county until he was eighteen or his mother could afford a home. He spent his senior year going to the high school down the street from the Malhotra house. He was unable to see Peewee except on weekends. They agreed that they would not discuss anything until T.J. was out of government custody.

The summer of the next year approached.

The day after T.J. graduated from high school, he was getting ready to move out of the group home. He had no idea where he was going. T.J. said his goodbyes and left the home. He got in the van and rode to Peewee’s house.

Peewee greeted T.J. at the door with an envelope.

“What’s up, man? We gotta go. Come on,” Peewee said.

“Where are we going, I just got here,” T.J. said.

“Look, man. I thought about that conversation we had. We have a chance to make things right. I want to change the world with this money. I want to invest it somebody that can make a difference. Life is funny. We kill two people for fifty Gs, and we’re sons of bitched. The founding father killed and enslaved millions, and they glorify their names in history books. I love you man. I’m giving you this money to get a degree. When you become successful, make sure you remember where you came from. Hell, as much as we try to forget, make sure you remember that night. We did what we had to do so others won’t have to. Remember that,” Peewee said.

T.J. looked at Peewee with tears in his eyes. He opened the envelope and took out fifteen thousand dollars.

“I figured that was enough for this year at least. I gave your mom some money to get an apartment with and I took the rest and got my mom and sister and me a house on the west side. I start the police academy in a month. I know it’s risky, but I think we got away with it, bro. We’re safe,” Peewee said.

T.J. stood in shock. He could not believe was Peewee had done for him.

“I can’t thank you enough, man. I’m going to get this degree, and make some real changes around here. This is our city, and we have to take care of it,” T.J. said.

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