Preview the Book!

My dorm room was tucked away inside the Middlebury maze. The interior was simple. The door opened to a bare picture window framing a grassy courtyard. Underneath the windowsill was an empty desk, and near the walls were two beds with bare mattresses sitting atop built-in dresser drawers. The shiny linoleum floor smelled like disinfectant.

The brown paneled walls held countless pinholes from previous residents.

There’d be no problem hanging the poster of Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the power salute on the victory platform at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the one of Huey P. Newton I’d concealed in my trunk. My parents, concerned with me fitting in and appearing too radical, would have opposed both photos. But no matter what, I was determined to stay in touch with and—when necessary—flaunt my blackness.

Dad carried in the new, all-in-one stereo component set he’d found at a Sears clearance sale, and Mom brought in the bedding. Setting it on the counter, Dad looked at me in the way he did when he meant business.

“Remember, don’t play this too loud.”

“I know.” I looked for the wall outlet. I was anxious to plug in everything and see how the radio, record player, and the tiny speakers attached to it, sounded.

“White people think we can’t play our music at a reasonable level,” added Mom. “Just watch yourself.”

“I’ll keep it real low,” I said.

“That’s good,” said Dad. “But I don’t think you’ll have too much time for music listening anyway. Especially the way Breedlove was talking. You’re going to be pretty busy, I can feel it. Just do your work and make us proud.” He emphasized the word “proud,” making sure I understood the magnitude of the undertaking. Not only was I representing the Issacson household, but I was supposed to be a role model for all the black kids in Oakland who hadn’t been awarded a scholarship.

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1 Response to “Preview the Book!”


  1. 1 Kevin From Philly July 24, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Bravo my Brother. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. I will begin to read this novel as soon as things slow down a bit over here.

    CONGRATS!!!!


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