The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy's Journey into Manhood

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 27, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
In the spirit of Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, writer and activist Kevin Powell’s memoir—“illuminating…an education for us all” (USA TODAY)—vividly recounts the horrific poverty of his youth and his struggles to overcome a legacy of anger, violence, and self-hatred.

When Kevin Powell was three, he discovered the volatile nature of his world: a place of pain, poverty, violence, fire, rats, roaches, and a fear that would haunt him for years; but also moments of joy, transcendence, and belonging. By the time he graduated from high school, something his single mother and his grandparents did not do, Powell had survived abuse, abandonment by his father, debilitating low self-esteem, a police beating, and years of constant relocation—from school to school, neighborhood to neighborhood. He was left feeling isolated, wondering if his life had any value, and doubting that he would survive to see old age.

In this unflinchingly honest autobiography, Kevin Powell reflects on his tumultuous, turbulent passage from child to man. He revisits the path that led him to become a successful writer, public speaker, activist, and cast member on the influential first season of MTV’s The Real World. He also recalls the terrible lows he endured of depression, thoughts of suicide, alcoholism, bankruptcy, doomed relationships, failed political campaigns, and the soul-shattering murder of Tupac Shakur.

Time and again, Powell harks back to lessons his mother taught him as a little boy: never stop learning, never stop telling the truth, always strive to be a better man, do what is right. Written with urgency and insight by one of the most gifted voices of our times, The Education of Kevin Powell is a powerful chronicle of healing and growth, survival and redemption. Ultimately, Kevin Powell’s journey is our journey, too.
 

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The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy's Journey Into Manhood (Original)

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Powell, an activist and writer, has a reputation for being honest to a fault, which is the key asset of his no-holds-barred, disturbing memoir of pushing himself from hard times to achievement. Raised ... Read full review

THE EDUCATION OF KEVIN POWELL: A Boy's Journey into Manhood

User Review  - Kirkus

A noted African-American journalist's account of his hardscrabble youth and its consequences in later life. Poet, journalist, and essayist Powell (Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr ... Read full review

Contents

My mother
3
That little boy
14
Going to school with Martin Luther King Jr
19
My grandfather and the American South
28
My cousin Anthony
38
The ghetto
44
Puerto Ricans
54
Church
57
PART II
133
Rutgers University
135
Kicked out of college
160
Newark New Jersey
169
Aunt Cathy And a new life
179
Hiphop poetry and New York City
186
My girlfriend and the bathroom door
196
MTVs The Real World
203

My father
66
My mother part 2
72
The library
79
Work
85
Aunt Birdie
90
John Travolta
93
White people and my new White neighborhood
98
Manchild
106
High school And the police
113
Vibe and Tupac Shakur
216
Suicide
232
Running for Congress
242
Love a many splintered thing
256
Africa
263
Finding my father
277
Acknowledgments
285
About the Author
287
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Kevin Powell is the author of thirteen books, including his autobiography, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood. He lives with his wife Jinah Parker, the dancer, choreographer, and playwright, in Brooklyn, New York.

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