Twelve years ago the the world's attention was drawn to the lives of black men and their plight in America, leading hundreds of thousands of men on journeys in search of self and community. Many observers of this historic moment have said that its significance was not in the event, but in the personal transformations experienced by the participantsó-those who journeyed from all cities and towns of America.
The memoir begins with the authorís journey to the Million Man March and his memories of moving to New York in 1965 as a small boy. Pittman, now a dean at a prestigious liberal arts college in New York, launches the story by recounting his familyís escape from Jim Crow racism on a sharecropping plantation in North Carolina to an upstate New York town at the height of the civil rights movement. This setting then becomes the backdrop for a coming of age memoir gracefully crafted around memories of family, schooling, the urban riots and the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, the impact of the seventies on his adolescence and sense of self, sports, unexpected teen fatherhood, and the struggle for social mobility. On the way to unraveling these memories, Pittman paints vivid portraits of his mother, school teachers, an older brother who dies of cancer, rise to leadership in a small community, and his constant search for racial identity. As the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into the authorís inner struggles and roots for some kind of victory, one that reconciles the colliding forces of memory, place, and race in America.