The optimism that author Jewell Parker Rhodes carried with her, despite the constant roadblocks of discrimination, racism, and derogatory reactions to controversial topics was amazing.
That was the predominant nature of someone who is able to stand up for what is what, and although I have not had the chance to dive into Black Brother, Black Brother yet, it was amazing how author Jewell Parker Rhodes opened the pages of her life to those who attended her author session through Delaware’s Festival of Words on March 1st.
Without a doubt her youthfulness captured the momentum of overcoming adversity, and it was obvious Jewell Parker Rhodes had seen alot of the latter.
Let’s dive right in shall we?
The images of the darker skinned brother, Dante, roaming the streets and the WAY that Jewell Parker Rhodes recreated the chanting as she read aloud to the attendees, it breathed life into her writing that she was attempting to bring out, and bring it out she did.
She went on to mention the power of self-conscious dialogue – and if we take time out to really think about that, I think we all can come up with some examples of how that type of dialogue from a character resonates to who we are as invidiauls.
She did mention how her family inspired many of the events that occurred in this book, as well as focusing the school to prison pipeline that unfortunately occurs so often in today’s society.
From her 30 years experience of raising interracial children, a wealth of wisdom, insight, and moments have filler her lifer and hence, the book Black Brother, Black Brother. She detailed being specifically called from the Boston school when her son was just moody of a day, she found him pacing pacing and simply being told, that the school would call the police the next time there was a “disruption: of his being upset, nothing more than being unsettled as a teenager.
I loved her statement that race as a myth, as the ties between so many individuals often defy separating people by race and often lead to isolation. Her discovery years and years later after history classes that Alexandre Dumas (who was black) wrote so much about his father, who was a black count! She never knew that, (as The Three Musketeers were always depicted as white, and the fact that black fencing occurred!) that was never pointed out, while differences in other individuals based on color often were.
She often wondered, in looking at the sport of fencing, hence, based on Dumas’ work of The Three Musketeers, why that was considered an old, white, autocratic sport when many individuals of color participated in such. The wisdom and mantra she often passed on ” Be You, even if people can’t see you!” led into the idea of her book Ghost Boys, and led back to that realization of a school to prison pipeline that so often exists today.
She reflected that she had had pretty positive reactions to Ghost Boys as a publication, it had alot to do with the Black Lives Matter movement at the time, and she hoped readers felt the sense of empathy across all races that truly needs to be present, along with the sense of everyone loving a sense of history.
One of the shocking events was when she remarked on being the speaker at a Boston Globe article/presentation and the chat had to be disabled due to so many negative comments being made about her family – it is not shocking to know of this happening today but it was shocking to hear theis from such an inspirational author as Jewell Parker Rhodes.
She did go on to mention how many people went on to try and censor the book Ghost Boys, due to the content of Emmett Till being presented from his perspective. It is shocking realize how tragic events in history are wanting to be suppressed because of how people view each other under the umbrella of race and how important the issue of colorism is.
Certainly Jewell Parker Rhodes shocked many when she said she LOVED revision! Yes! She loved it but she had a great point, this is where the content and deep diving of what will make up the plot will start to reveal itself. She did state she did not write every day, she did not keep a journal, but that was her style and not everyone elses.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE – and yet we are running out of time – tonight is a book discussion at 4:30 PM, and this post will be continued in a day or so- once we can flesh out the amazing looks into her life that say alot about her current book, Black Brother, Black Brother!