When the New York City Board of Education decided to promote busing to achieve integration in it's public schools in 1965, I was one of the first African-Americans from the inner-city bused to a junior high school in lily-White, predominately Jewish, Sheephead Bay, Brooklyn. Viewed by many in my own community as being a "traitor," "Uncle Tom," and "house nigger" for going to school with "Whitey," for the next six years I navigated between two distinct worlds, excelled, forged friendships and found acceptance in the most unlikely of places; the White community I'd been warned to view with fear and distrust.
In my memoir, "Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye," I describe my experiences being a precocious child growing up in an inner-city housing project where "White flight" left behind a Black ghetto complete with a colorful array of inhabitants, mostly decent and hardworking and others, dangerous and downright predatory. Feeling out of place in a community where daily rites of passage demanded confrontation and aggressive posturing, I found solace in all things academic and artistic thus, further alienating myself from a community where an ever-increasing Black militancy demanded that all young Blacks be "down with the revolution." I also share humorous stories about my struggling, but happy family while at the same time seriously addressing my mother Clara being diagnosed with a debilitating disease and my father, "the Colonel's" gambling addiction and emotional alienation. While the social and historical implications of busing were obvious, I simply struggled to just be a kid.
"Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye" is informative and historical and will not only take readers on a nostalgic journey to an exciting time gone by but also educate them along the way about the Civil Rights Movement, President Kennedy's election and assassination, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Vietnam war and the healing effects of the Beatles' music on a post-assassination America.