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Fraternity: In 1968, a Visionary Priest Recruited 20 Black Men to the College of the Holy Cross and Changed Their Lives and the Course of Historyby Diane Brady
Synopses & Reviews
The inspiring true story of a group of young men whose lives were changed by a visionary mentor
On April 4, 1968, the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., shocked the nation. Later that month, the Reverend John Brooks, a professor of theology at the College of the Holy Cross who shared Dr. King’s dream of an integrated society, drove up and down the East Coast searching for African American high school students to recruit to the school, young men he felt had the potential to succeed if given an opportunity. Among the twenty students he had a hand in recruiting that year were Clarence Thomas, the future Supreme Court justice; Edward P. Jones, who would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature; and Theodore Wells, who would become one of the nation’s most successful defense attorneys. Many of the others went on to become stars in their fields as well.
In Fraternity, Diane Brady follows five of the men through their college years. Not only did the future president of Holy Cross convince the young men to attend the school, he also obtained full scholarships to support them, and then mentored, defended, coached, and befriended them through an often challenging four years of college, pushing them to reach for goals that would sustain them as adults.
Would these young men have become the leaders they are today without Father Brooks’s involvement? Fraternity is a triumphant testament to the power of education and mentorship, and a compelling argument for the difference one person can make in the lives of others.
"Tucked under a title suggesting beer kegs and silliness rests a serious, readable narrative of four years in the life of the Rev. John Brooks and the cohort of extraordinary young black men he shepherded through Holy Cross College from their arrival to their 1972 graduation. Galvanized by Marin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in April 1968, 'a time to heed King's call to action and take up the mantle of civil rights,' Rev. Brooks secured authorization 'to seek out black recruits and offer them full scholarships to the College of the Holy Cross.' By September, Holy Cross, in Massachusetts, had 19 black freshmen and one transfer, a remarkable achievement in an institution that 'rarely admitted more than two black men in any given year.' The young men turned out to be a remarkable group as well, including, among the figures Brady attends most closely to, Edward P. Jones, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Known World; Theodore Wells, 'widely considered to be one of the greatest trial lawyers of his generation,' having represented Scooter Libby and Michael Milken; and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the transfer student. Although the topic may seem parochial, Brady, senior editor at BusinessWeek, has produced a cogent account that ripples more broadly and addresses issues that remain, notably affirmative action programs, but also the roles of faculty and staff, of alumni, and even parents in determining the direction of a college." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In the fall of 1968, the Reverend John Brooks, a Jesuit priest at Holy Cross college in Massachusetts, made it his mission to recruit a group of African American students to the school. He got in his car and drove up and down the East Coast, searching for young men that he felt had the potential to succeed if given an opportunity. Among the twenty students he had a hand in recruiting that fall were the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones; the high-powered defense attorney Theodore Wells; Stanley Grayson, a former New York City deputy mayor who became an investment banker and broke the color barrier on Wall Street; and Eddie Jenkins, a Miami Dolphins running back during the team's 1972 perfect season.
The Fraternity tells the unforgettable story of how Father Brooks transformed the lives of this remarkable group of men during one of the most fraught racial periods in the history of our country. Based on exclusive interviews with Brooks and the men whose lives he forever altered, including Clarence Thomas, Diane Brady writes about what drove Brooks to single-handedly recruit them, mentor them, and spur on great changes in their lives when everyone else doubted them.
In the tradition of triumphant and bestselling books about the power of education like The Color of Water or The Pact, The Fraternity is the emotionally and dramatically rich tale of a great educator who, against all odds, molded an unlikely group of young men into some of the most influential leaders today.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Diane Brady grew up in Scotland and Canada before moving to Nairobi to begin her career as a journalist. She now writes for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York City, where she lives with her husband and three children. This is her first book.
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