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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 Coby Diane Brady
Synopses & Reviews
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
San Francisco Chronicle • The Plain Dealer
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.
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 teams 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.
About the Author
Diane Brady is senior editor and content chief at BusinessWeek, where the reporting for The Fraternity originally appeared. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children.
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