When Freeman Hrabowski was twelve years old, a civil rights leader visited his Birmingham, Alabama, church and spoke about a children's march for civil rights and opportunity. That leader was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and that march changed Hrabowski's life.
Until then, Freeman was a kid who loved school and solving math problems. Although his family had always stressed the importance of education, he never expected that the world might change and that black and white students would one day study together.
But hearing King speak changed everything for Hrabowski, who convinced his parents that he needed to answer King's call to stand up for equality. While participating in the famed Children's Crusade, he spent five terrifying nights in jail-during which Freeman became a leader for the younger kids, as he learned about the risk and sacrifice that it would take to fight for justice.
When Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males appeared in 1998, it was hailed as "a crucial book" (Baltimore Sun) and "undoubtedly one of the most important tools the African American parent can possess" (Kweisi Mfume, President NAACP).
Now, in response to enormous demand, the authors turn their attention to African American young women. Based on interviews with many of these successful young women and their families, Overcoming the Odds provides a wealth of information about how and why they have succeeded--what motivates them, how their backgrounds and family relationships have shaped them, even how it feels to be a high academic achiever. They also discuss the challenges of moving into African American womanhood, from maintaining self-esteem to making the right choices about their professional and personal lives. Most important, the book offers specific and inspiring examples of the practices, attitudes, and parenting strategies that have enabled these women to persevere and triumph.
Today, young Black men are more likely to be killed or sent to prison than to graduate from college. Yet, despite all the obstacles, some are achieving at the highest academic and professional levels.
Beating the Odds tells their remarkable stories and shows us what African American families have done to raise academically successful sons, sons who are among the top two percent of African American males in terms of SAT scores and grades. The result of extensive and innovative research, Beating the Odds goes beyond mere analysis--and beyond the relentlessly negative media images--to show us precisely how young Black men can succeed despite the roadblocks of racism, the temptations of crime and drugs, and a popular culture that values being "cool" over being educated.
Essential reading for parents, teachers, and school administrators, Beating the Odds offers insight, guidance, and hope for anyone concerned about the plight of young African American men and the society they live in.