Little Did I Know: The Coming of Age of a Black Boomer

Little Did I Know: The Coming of Age of a Black Boomer

by Donald Brooks Jones


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The high school years of a black boomer as he moved to racially-polarized Memphis after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It's a story of social change and shifting paradigms while coming of age during a seminal period in American history.

Comments from readers:

“I loved it...really captured the tenor of the times and the feeling of the place.” ...

“The writing was excellent. I was totally engaged from start to finish.”

“Thank you for making a very real historical contribution.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998930046
Publisher: Alchemy Media Publishing
Publication date: 07/01/2018
Pages: 124
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.29(d)

Table of Contents


The Phone Call

Paradigm Shift

Table Manners

Dr. Watts

The Road Home

Black Mondays

A Vietnamese Thanksgiving

Roots and Realities

Shoeshine Boy

The Golden Rule

Dancin’ In The Streets

History’s Road Trip

Board Walk

Graduation Days


This story has been germinating for a long time. I guess you’d call it a memoir, but I think of it as a retrospective diary. I wrote it as a series of episodes, not in the contemporaneous diary musings of my teenage self, but with the perspective that decades of hindsight provides.

As I began, I quickly realized that as much as the story was about my coming of age as a black baby boomer, it was equally, and necessarily, the story of my parents. Shared history and the tradition of passing the stories down to the next generation is fundamental in many families. This story reflects the recognition of truths I’ve learned from my parents that I have passed on to my child with hopes that she will do the same.

Therefore, here’s to you, my dear daughter, Lauren, and to your children, Kennedy, Brooks and Marlee, as well.

This is the story of my family’s relocation from an interracial, suburban Chicago enclave to a tumultuous and polarized Memphis in 1968, just a couple of months after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The story encompasses my high school years, culminating on graduation night. Moreover, it’s a story of social change and shifting personal and societal paradigms. It represents one small and intimate chapter within the broader narrative of baby boomers coming of age during this seminal period in American history.

In addition to my wife and decidedly better half, Andrea, and family, I’d like to thank my dear fellow boomers and friends, old and new, and most particularly my Memphis pals, Dwain, Kelvin and “Popsy”.

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