My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole (CD-Audio)

My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole By Will Jawando, Will Jawando (Read by) Cover Image
By Will Jawando, Will Jawando (Read by)
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Description


This program is read by the author, Will Jawando, who has been called “the progressive leader we need” by the late congressman John Lewis.

“Will Jawando’s account of mentorship, service, and healing lays waste to the
racist stereotype of the absent Black father. By arguing that Black fathers are not just found in individual families, but are indeed the treasure of entire Black communities, Will makes the case for a bold idea: that Black men can counter racist ideas and policies by virtue of their presence in the lives of Black boys and young men. This is a story we need to hear.” —New York Times–bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi

My Seven Black Fathers: The Men Who Made Me Whole is a call to action for Black men to step forward and mentor Black boys. Will Jawando is the beneficiary of such mentoring. He calls himself the proud son of not one but seven Black fathers—all of them men who changed the course of his life.

As a boy, Will, who went by his Nigerian name Yemi, felt awkward and alone as he was shunted from school to school in suburban Maryland. His mother was divorced, his relationship with his biological father was frayed, and he lost his best friend to gun violence. Without his Black fathers, each one contributing something profound to his character and enlarging his sense of life’s possibilities, he surely would not have become the man he is today—civil rights and education policy attorney, county councilman, husband, father.

Inspired by Jawando's involvement in My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s successful mentorship program for young men of color, My Seven Black Fathers explores the bonds that developed between Jawando and the host of father figures who formed him: Mr. Williams, the math teacher who saw that he was bullied and taught him to tie his first tie; Joseph, the stepfather who altered his understanding of family; Jay Fletcher, the openly gay colleague of his mother who persuaded him to stop filling the emptiness inside with fast food and introduced him to the theater; Mr. Holmes, the high school chorus director and former athlete who taught him to use his voice and saw him through a crushing disappointment; and Deen Sanwoola, who helped him bridge the gap between his American upbringing and his Nigerian heritage—eventually leading to a reconciliation with his biological father. Jawando also explores the impact of Barack Obama as a role model, describing how he and the president bonded over their similar backgrounds and shared political commitments. When Obama first hired Will while working in the U.S. Senate, he introduced him as “my long lost brother.” Jawando was 27 years old when President Obama invited him to be associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Grounded in a deep appreciation of Black male experience, My Seven Black Fathers is an exciting new take on the transformative role Black men can have in each other’s lives.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

About the Author


Will Jawando is an attorney, an activist, a community leader, and a councilmember in Montgomery County, Maryland, a diverse community of more than one million residents. Called “the progressive leader we need” by the late congressman John Lewis, Jawando has worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and President Barack Obama. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The Root and on BET.com, and his work has been featured in The New York Times and New York magazine and on NPR, NBC News, and MTV. He regularly appears on CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets.

Will Jawando is an attorney, an activist, a community leader, and a councilmember in Montgomery County, Maryland, a diverse community of more than one million residents. Called “the progressive leader we need” by the late congressman John Lewis, Jawando has worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and President Barack Obama. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The Root and on BET.com, and his work has been featured in The New York Times and New York magazine and on NPR, NBC News, and MTV. He regularly appears on CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets.

Praise For…


"A passionate 'love letter to Black men' . . . Candid and uplifting . . . This book is a clarion call to families and communities to provide crucial support to young people, particularly young Black men." —Andrienne Cruz, Booklist (starred review)

"[A] rousing debut . . . Jawando brilliantly uses the arc of his life to root out how 'Black male mentors... make America a more just place for Black boys and a better place for all Americans' . . . Vivid and moving . . . Stirring . . . A powerful call to action in these fraught times." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[Jawando] deftly uses his personal story to provide a trenchant structural analysis of how American racism plays out in Black men’s everyday lives. His talent for creating striking imagery and memorable scenes draws readers into his masterfully constructed world. Jawando treats his past self with compassion without ever skirting responsibility for his mistakes." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Jawando has written an enlightening, heartfelt memoir that will appeal to readers looking for a ‘different’ all-American story; one that shows the power of community to uplift Black men in the United States." —Leah K. Huey, Library Journal (starred review)

"Will Jawando's account of mentorship, service, and healing lays waste to the racist stereotype of the absent Black father. By arguing that Black fathers are not just found in individual families, but are indeed the treasure of entire Black communities, Will makes the case for a bold idea: that Black men can counter racist ideas and policies by virtue of their presence in the lives of Black boys and young men. This is a story we need to hear." Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times–bestselling author of How to be an Antiracist

"Will Jawando’s book, My Seven Black Fathers, speaks urgently to the moment. In walking us through his recovery from the wounds of his own father loss, he speaks to our potential for healing as a people and to the incredible resources for becoming whole that are already contained within our communities. His book is the key to unlock that healing." Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress

"There is nowhere near enough writing about the inner lives of Black folks. Will Jawando’s story is a necessary and important contribution to our understanding of Black men’s grief, pain, and fulfillment. The story of the men who stepped in and helped raise Will not only shows us how present and capable Black men can be and already are within the Black community, but also provides us with an emotional template for Black male interventions that matter, that change the lives of Black boys and young men." Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times–bestselling author of Tears We Cannot Stop and What Truth Sounds Like

"Research tells us that Black boys who have access to Black fathers and mentors in their communities have a much better chance of navigating the world successfully and overcoming systemic racism to achieve their full potential. Will Jawando’s story poignantly demonstrates this point but also provides critical insight into the form and structure of these relationships, and the power they have to not only transform the lives of Black boys but to rebuild whole communities." Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education

"With dignity, clarity, and compassion, Will Jawando takes readers on a tour of his past through the stories of seven men who mentored, protected, and loved him along the road to adulthood. Written in a voice that is simultaneously bright, sanguine, and affecting, My Seven Black Fathers is an inspiring personal narrative, but it is not an ordinary memoir. Instead, the book is a guidebook on the essential gift of mentorship and how staggeringly transformative it was in the life of one beautiful black boy. But most of all, My Seven Black Fathers is a praise song to the mysteries of human connection, and the resilience that is an inherent part of African American identity." —Emily Bernard, author of Black Is the Body



Product Details
ISBN: 9781250856319
ISBN-10: 1250856310
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Language: English