The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of ll, he as a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the complexitie of the streets. This Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their ather ’ s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and another body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his wife ’ s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.
Year of the Publication
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Original Title of the Book
The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Publication Date
Published (first published 2008

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He discusses the best father son conflicts ever, and he makes the fear so real that when he describes parental discipline being meted out it 's like a white-knuckle suspense thriller.

All through he book Coates keeps referring to Howard University as " Mecca. " Never once does he call it by name.

Howard University was founded by a white Union Army General named Otis O.

Now maybe Coates thinks he 's just another white devil.

But just calling Howard University " Mecca " is a cop out.

It 's like in World War One when the white super patriots wanted to call Dachshunds " Liberty Pups " and sauerkraut " Liberty Cabbage " because they hated Kaiser Bill so much.

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Although he ultimately makes it -- on one level this is a variation on the " narrative of ascent " in which a black protagonist acquires " literacy " and a limited degree of freedom -- Coates does n't provide a clear picture of which parts of his story are of potential use to those seeking to address the broader problems facing " at-risk " youth.

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His so was an integral part in his upbringing, although not always present ( Ta-Nehisi has six siblings with four different mothers!.) His wif was involved in the Black Panther Party, and ater would become a publisher of texts supporting that party and other topics surrounding black liberation ( referred to throughout this text as Knowledge with a capital K.) Coates often writes about his brother " Big Bill " as somewhat of a contrast to his own ath and decisions, since Bill dipped closer into more dangerous situations. " The greater world was obsessed over challenger ...

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Coates ’ first book, written seven years before Between the World and Me, is a book of Coates ’ childhood growing up in inner-city Baltimore.

A Beautiful Struggle revolves around the relationship between Coates, his grandfather, and his brother “ Big Bill. ” Coates ’ father, a former Black Panther turned independent publisher, is determined to see his children escape the streets and get them into Howard University.

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Where I come from, the white public has an extraordinary penchant for stealing the movement, language, all the etcs of a people you could ever imagine, from the black public.

Th word woul come into a circle of white friends to use and lose and abuse, a segment of communication dehumanized as " slang " that will definitely be whole so long as it is spoken by those who hav n't black.

like to g and bleach and present to the majority white audience as brand spanking new, never before seen cool and hip and catchy except, of course, in the communities you 're stealing it from.

You take the deadbeat lack fathers in stride without looking at the deadbeat blac fathers who keep killing them.

When you have that as a possible existence, your values will be different, your instincts will be different, hell, you 'll have an easier time understanding the emotive motivations of dead people from across the ocean than those of the living right next door.

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© Nicole Waggonner