How Fear Moves is a memoir that shares childhood memories of carefree days, growing out of poverty, and a current look at life as a black man in the military. Written with a powerful prose, this book holds a proud message of survival, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of adversity.
Having survived a tumultuous childhood of poverty and neglect, Eugene Jackson went on to become a Marine and an officer. His memoir, How Fear Moves, shares his experience of growing up as an African American with pride and the sheer will to overcome adversity. Intense, powerful, and ultimately a celebration of perseverance, this collection is a mixture of memories, dreamscapes, and inspirational quotes that have a gritty, yet spiritual feel. Through the Far East, the Gulf War, and multiple duty stations across America, this Marine's boots were made for a journey of self-discovery.
I watched from across the room as the large, sweaty black woman shouted out, “Yes, Lord!” and then went into convulsions. Her hands and hair flew in the air as she danced and hopped out of control. Then she fainted into the arms of a nearby woman, who gently lowered her to the floor. Near the front, another woman shouted out as the Holy Ghost took over her body. It was Sunday morning in the Church of God and Christ, and slanted sunrays from the east warmly poured in through the tall, narrow stained glass windows.
It was a small church, constructed of pine, with a tall white steeple on top. The church sat in the center of a large, grassy field with gray gravel-stones laying a path from the street to the church’s main entrance. There was another entrance at the rear of the church, leading into a tiny kitchen, where the women sometimes prepared meals. Just inside the main entrance, an aisle divided two sections of hardwood pews. People of all ages filled the pews, in darks suits and ties and colorful dresses with hats that had flowers.
Big Mama watched from the piano near the pulpit, though she could not play very well. She also could not carry a tune. Even as a child of five, I noticed how her singing stood out like a howling cat on a quiet evening. Still, she loved to sing loud.
The room was hot, and colorful handheld fans waved in the air that smelled of Wrigley's Spearmint gum. I sat with my back against a pew, feet alternately dangling and kicking in the air, as I studied patterns in the stained glass windows and daydreamed to the sound of Big Daddy preaching fire and brimstone from the pulpit. He was a quiet man, except when he stood there.
Big Mama then called me to sing a solo in front of the congregation. I was too young to be embarrassed. “Deep and wide,” I sang, rocking back and forth as smiling grownups looked on, “Deep and wide!” They rocked with me. “There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide!” Another woman jumped out from the pews and went into convulsions as I finished my song with wide eyes.