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Woo Ae Yi – Author Interview

Woo Ae Yi Author Interview

Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community helps readers understand how KAD can be a bridge in the Black Lives Matter movement. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wrote the answer to that within the book itself, but essentially I didn’t feel that there was anything like it in existence, and I thought there should be.

What were some ideas that were important for you to convey in this book?

The role that Korean adoptees play in anti-racism.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about Korean adoptees (KAD)?

That they’re “not Asian enough.”

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

The importance of practicing anti-racism and the importance of getting adoption-based and/or race-based trauma included in the DSM V.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads

Korean adoptees (KADs) can be a bridge to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter movement is intended to highlight that in the US Government and in its criminal justice system, Black lives are valued less than white lives. Even though Black Lives Matter is about the Black community, Yi Woo Ae, a Korean adoptee, establishes that our lives are connected as minorities, and even intertwined. KADs, being both white adjacent and Asian, can talk with whites, Asians, and others in a way that supports the movement.


This book is divided into three parts: profiles, background history, and a how-to. Korean adoptee, Yi Woo Ae, also added a call to action. She first points out how the relationship between Blacks and Korean adoptees is better than what we see in the media, if it’s in the media at all. The author advocates for the inclusion of adoption-based and race-based trauma into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). She shares the importance of acknowledging that trauma, as defined in the DSM, is not currently all-inclusive. Whether we believe we chose our present life or not, we are the bridge between worlds. As a Korean adoptee (or Asian adoptee), we can support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community: ’92 to ’20

Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community by Yi Woo Ae, is a study and exploration of the ways in which the lives of minorities, especially the Asian and Black communities, in the United States are intertwined. The book is divided into three complimentary and enlightening parts: a short history, profiles, a quick-start guide, and an explanation of traumas that result from adoption.

The author, who is a Korean adoptee, offers a unique and varied perspective on these issues. She makes a case for the Korean Adoptees acting as a crucial link in the Black Lives Matter movement. She advocates for the strength of the Black-Korean relations and also states the need for including adoption-based and race-based trauma in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The writing is engaging and clear– giving a background history and showing the intersection of different lives in a well-researched and factual manner. It is very interesting to see how she overlaps her personal experiences with the underlying narrative.

Watching the Black Lives Matter movement unfold, while I felt moved and enraged, I was unable to comprehend the nature of the movement in its entirety. This book went a long way in helping me understand the way Asian communities perceive and interact with African American communities. While I am not a part of either community, it helped me to identify the key variables of these issues and I found myself pondering the ways in which my own community interacts with others. I was especially drawn to the profiles- the anecdotes and confessions of KADs growing up in an environment that is simultaneously their own and foreign. They are insightful because they talk about the grounded reality of racism and show the ways in which their lives and thought processes are impacted by it. Even though this is targeted towards Koream adoptees– as a guide for them on how to have difficult conversations, I felt like I came away more confident in both my knowledge and curiosity.

Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community is a profound book of depth and intelligence that shines a light on a little understood, and acknowledged, problem in society. This is a thought-provoking book that is well researched and provides wise and rational insight on a topic that is vitally important.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08NLLMB9W

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Freedom Begins Inside Ourselves

Susan Suchman Simone
William “Mecca” Elmore Author Interview

Prison From The Inside Out tells the story of life in prison and how the justice system treats people. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I didn’t want to die taking my story with me – I wanted to free myself and telling my story was one way to do that. I started with journals, which made be realize I had to tell my story to my family and to you, and Simone gave me that opportunity.

What was the writing collaboration process like with Susan Simone?

It was like talking to my best friend from high school, an old friend. Simone has a great way of asking questions to draw me out.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Freedom begins inside ourselves.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Value your time more than you value money.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Prison From The Inside Out is both a book and an act of trust: A black man from New Jersey and a white woman from New York meet in a workshop at a North Carolina prison. They decide they have something to tell the world about incarceration, self-esteem, personal growth, survival, and the power of trust. Together they have created this book.


On March 30, 1991, William “Mecca” Elmore fired a gun toward a parked and occupied van in an attempt to protect a friend who he thought was actively involved in a drug deal gone bad. In court two years later, that same friend testified that Mecca had aimed directly at the van’s occupants, one of whom died of his wound before reaching the hospital. Mecca admitted to firing the gun, but he did not plan to kill anyone, so although the public defender urged him to take a plea bargain, he insisted on taking the stand. Today, Mecca sees giving that testimony as a turning point in his life.


Mecca was sentenced to “mandatory life,” a sentence that meant he would spend the rest of his natural life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Prison From The Inside Out tells the story of how that sentence was served.

Prison From The Inside Out

Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom by [William "Mecca" Elmore, Susan Simone]

Prison from the Inside Out by William “Mecca” Elmore and Susan Simone is a powerful story depicting the struggles in the life of William and his family, his life at the prison, and the indomitable spirit that lifted him from darker days. The story also sheds light on a number of critical issues, questioning the nature of justice in the society we live in, hinting towards the need for reform.

William was convicted for shooting a person, although he had not intended to hurt anyone. His aim was to save his friend from an dispute, but that very same friend testified against him at the court. This book, at any point, doesn’t try to conceal the crime. It speaks about things as they happened and forces readers to analyze deeply why we are carrying forward a system that is essentially flawed.

The narrative takes us through the journey from his teenage years to his introduction into the world of crime and drugs. The story is told with utter truthfulness, bringing out the harsh realities that often elude us. The book provides a fresh perspective on those who spend their lives behind bars.

The book’s subtitle ‘One Man’s Journey From a Life Sentence to Freedom’ aptly reflects the crux of the matter. It’s in not giving up that William finds his freedom, and Susan Simone records his words with great articulation, grasping its essence. The image of the prison days becomes gloomy, scary, and brutally real, but the hope at the end of the tunnel keeps the reader hooked throughout. With the help and unconditional support of his mother and sister, William learns to see that ray of hope. And to know how he goes about it, you have to give this book a read.

Thanks to the oral history method the authors used, each and every incident taking place in the lives of William and his loved ones come alive in the readers mind. It sends a strong message of hope and relentless will, that steers away from the gloomy sadness of a life sentence. This book is an exemplary read for anyone who wishes to look at the larger picture of the justice system.

Pages: 392 | ASIN: B08H1DRHMW

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My Personal War Within: A Struggle to Find Inner Peace

My Personal War Within: “A Struggle to Find Inner Peace “ by [Ted Bagley]

My Personal War Within is a journey through Ted Bagley’s upbringing and life until adulthood. Growing up in a world of prejudice and not quite understanding the sense in it. Wanting to worship but not being able to do it at any house of worship. This book offers a look at the fight for civil rights from the perspective of a little boy. Wondering about segregation but somehow accepting it as the norm.

Ted Bagley takes the reader on a scenic journey through his life. His descriptions are vivid and help the reader develop the appropriate mental image. It is a well-written book with a historical backdrop. It is lovely how the author has woven history into his story in a way that makes the book incredibly enjoyable.

The book flows easily and is written in simple language. The author’s writing reads like a velvety baritone narration. The story while not flashy or sprinkled with pizzazz is very much enjoyable. It provides a different perspective on civil rights and the struggle for it during Ted Bagley’s youth. This book does not make that generation feel out of place in a different era. It embraces all and bares all. While I enjoyed the candid nature with which this engaging story is told, I felt that is sometimes digressed, swerving occasionally into little side stories.

This book has a different tone from Ted Bagley’s other book, Demolition of Democracy, but it still has the Ted Bagley spirit. It is an important book especially with the current wave of racially charged violence playing out in our country. It is important to understand how unfounded and unnecessary racism is. Ted Bagley says that some of the people who hated him in his childhood do not actually remember why they did today. Hating him for the color of his skin was sort of just required.

My Personal War Within is well written and eye-opening. The language is polished and I recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing civil rights history lesson with a personal touch.

Pages: 180 | ASIN: B0793SPWP5

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Betrayal In Black

Betrayal in Black (A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Book 4) by [Mark M. Bello]

In a fictional city, a black couple is coming back from a fair when they are mistakenly stopped by a police officer, unfortunately, it ends with a murder. What follows is the complex dichotomy inside the police department, the obstacles that a mother and recent widow has to endure for justice, and the length to which the parties that seek to benefit from this tragedy will go.

A Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is a story that doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that black people in America face and how they have to adapt in order to survive.

A Betrayal in Black opens up in a lighthearted way and then transitions to a much darker and cruder story. Throughout the story I felt that the author had a clear understanding of law and police affairs.

When it comes to the technical parts of the story, Bello does a great job of immersing the reader into the world of law and order, with details that show the deep knowledge he has over legal prosecutions and police internal affairs. However, while this is immersing, it sometimes gets tedious and almost didactic, for example, when describing what a grand jury is, it almost feels like you are reading a law school book. But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise engaging story. The dialogue was interesting, and could even be funny at times.

A remarkable thing about this book is how it details every single aspect that goes into a case, from the murder itself to the conviction, all throughout detailing the victims grieving and the lawyers seeking justice. A particularly moving chapter is when the wife of the victim is speaking with their mother and they are retelling a story of how racism has evolved in this country, and, as angry as she may be, she can’t show it, because she is a woman of color.

This book was written in 2019, but the murder it describes is all too recent. The different ways black people have to think to present themselves to white people in order to be considered “equals” and not be dismissed as rude, is all too familiar. The themes in this book come at a crucial time, where stories like these are needed to paint a more vivid picture of the struggles minorities face in America. A Betrayal in Black is a must read.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B0827D7LGX

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Trumping The Race Card

Trumping the Race Card: A National Agenda, Moving Beyond Race and Racism by [Rodney S. Patterson]

 

 

Racism has plagued the country for years. It always seems like it is the cast iron ball chained to our ankles preventing us from moving forward. When it seems like we have had enough of crime against people of color, something new emerges. From killings to wrongful incarceration to brutality against innocent people going about their daily life. Trumping the Race Card highlights the beginning of all this and the evolution of oppression through history. Rodney Patterson has cast a light on this sensitive topic to help people realize where they go wrong as well as what can be done about the systemic failures within our society. These are human failures and as such, they can be fixed.

One thing that stands out to me the most about this book is how Rodney Patterson’s passion is palpable throughout this though-provoking book. Someone said that racism is also a human rights issue and should be treated as such. Trumping the Race Card elaborates on this idea and colorizes it with insightful concepts. This is a deeply emotional and sensitive issue to write about especially at this crucial moment in our nations history where we are on the precipice of some potentially monumental changes to the way in which police officers serve our community. Prejudice is an issue that has crippled our communities since the nations founding. Rodney Patterson inspires progressive thought and spurs action. For me, this book did a fantastic job in helping me understand how much of prejudice is racism and vice versa.

Trumping the Race Card is well written and well-timed. I left this book feeling well informed and better prepared with strategies that can be utilized for action at any level of involvement in advancing human rights. This book is really for anyone whether they have experienced or been proximal to racism.

With a pragmatic approach and easily understandable language this book is easily the best civil rights book I’ve read this year. I believe this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. This country needs this book now more than ever.

Pages: 101 | ASIN: B07W4S684D

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Striking a Balance

Derek R. King Author Interview

Derek R. King Author Interview

The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard is the account of Clyde Kennard’s life and his significant but silent contribution to desegregate the South. What was your inspiration that made you want to write this book?

I’ve always had a fascination for the 1960’s and, reading and researching key events in that decade, one name kept cropping up, but generally only within a couple of paragraphs or a few pages at best, and that name was Clyde Kennard. I decided to hone in and further research this man to see what I could find out.

So to begin with it was really that lack of information about Mr Kennard that drew me in and I became intrigued as why that should be when many others of the civil rights movement of that time have received more attention.

The more I researched and discovered about Clyde Kennard, the more determined and passionate I became about the telling of his journey and how his efforts inspired others many decades later.

I understand that you spent more than ten years researching this book. What is something that surprised you while researching Clyde Kennard?

Yes, that’s right, and in that period my initial six pages of notes on grew into the book that exists today.

There were a few surprising things. One would have to be the lengths to which state actors would go to in those times in an attempt to stall or circumnavigate SCOTUS decisions. Another that a state would create an agency whose sole purpose was to protect it from “federal encroachment” and in essence spy on its citizens, in particular those who sought benefit from SCOTUS decisions among other things.

While these were a surprising, nothing, and you touched on this in your book review, nothing comes close to the disbelief I experienced learning about the Emmett Till case. I do still find that quite difficult to comprehend on various levels. The violence, the acquittal, the accused selling their story to Look magazine it in some graphic detail but, due to prevailing laws there could be no retrial.

This book raises Clyde Kennard up along with other civil rights leaders of the time. Was this your intention while writing this book?

To a some extent Clyde’s story told itself, the trick for me was to present it in the context of the times he lived in which I felt was critical to give his story meaning.

That period was, in my view, a time of extremes, I’m sure we’ve all seen the flashpoint photographs, Little Rock Central High, the firebomed Freedom Ride bus, Ole Miss at the time of James Meredith’s entry, the March On Washington and of course Selma.

To better understand the social and political climate of those times I completed a lot of research form both sides of the segregation debate. I wanted to try to understand not only what the issues were and why they had become so and also latterly, how those scenarios had come to be in the first place. Hence the Prologue in my book which attempts, in a few pages, to summarise how the respective positions had begun to develop over time.

The challenge with that of course was striking a balance, between Clyde’s own story and the context of those times, I think I got that right, but readers will be the real judges.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have enough research material I didn’t use to do another book on the same or related topics, however 10 years is a long time and I’ve been enjoying a little bit of a break to be honest. That said, I’m beginning to get the itch to do something. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m really enjoying that. I have also been considering a larger project on the Highland Clearances which would be a little closer to home for me. I am also gathering my poetry so may do a collection of those works. Availability wise, I will be sure to let you know.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterWebsite

The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard by [King, Derek R.]

In 1955, Clyde Kennard, a decorated army veteran, was forced to cut short the final year of his studies at the University of Chicago and return home to Mississippi due to family circumstances, where Kennard made the decision to complete his education. Yet still on the eve of the civil rights movement in America, Kennard’s decision would be one of the first serious attempts to integrate any public school at the college level in the state. The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard tells the true story of Kennard’s efforts to complete his further education at Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) against the backdrop of the institutionalized social order of the times and the prevailing winds of change attempting to blow that social order away. As Meredith’s admission to “Ole Miss” became more widely known at the time, Kennard became the forgotten man. Author Derek R. King shares his extensive research into Kennard’s life, and touches on key events that shaped those times.

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