Martin's Must Reads: 'My Seven Black Fathers'
“My Seven Black Fathers tells the stories of the men who have shaped my sense of what it means to be a Black man in twenty-first century America...My Seven Black Fathers retells the story of who Black fathers are. My Seven Black Fathers demonstrate there’s no one right way to mentor and there’s no standard fit.”
I’m Mark Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and Will Jawando in My Seven Black Fathers; A Young Activist’s Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole does more than provide his memoirs of growing up. He gives a glimpse into the struggle of growing up a black man in a racist world as well as insights on what being a father looks like.
His mother a white Catholic from Kansas and his father a lapsed Muslim immigrant from Nigeria, gave him the name Yemi at birth. Through the stories of his youth and early adulthood the reader is shown the racism—some intentional, some unintentional that a young black man faces in today’s America. We see how he deals with the racism but also how he comes to accept his heritage and identity.
The other story is one that transcends race, that is the relationship of fathers and sons told through examples and stories. They offer real life lessons on the powerful impact fathers have on sons and the positive influence any male can have.
Will Jawando in My Seven Black Fathers ends with these words “The benefit of having more than one parent—and if you’re me, seven fathers—is that so much of how you see and experience the world is an expression of how their influences have played off one another. There’s no doubting the African proverb “It takes a village to raise child. My experience bears that out.”