September 2020 Volume 16

Review of Black Man Rising

Dr. Glen Laman
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Everton Barrett has penned a memoir of his amazing journey from Kingston town to the giant metropolis of New York City and parts beyond. The immigrant journey is not an easy one. The journey is replete with apprehension and bewilderment as you try to navigate a foreign landscape and deal with attitudes and cultures that are remarkably different from that to which you are accustomed.

Barrett has successfully maneuvered his way through the American terrain and is now living large near the white sand beaches in Florida after an exciting career in what we used to call data processing. It is evident he has laid claim to more than his fair share of the American pie. However, as Buju would say “is not an easy road” to reach those exalted heights achieved by successful people.

But he did it.

Black Man Rising is an unabashed account of his personal and professional life in these United States. In case, you are wondering. The answer is yes, sex is included. You will laugh as you picture his mother coming home unexpectedly in the middle of the day only to realize that he and a senorita were doing “things” not encouraged by his Jamaican “Madda.” Consequently, he was soon motivated to shelter elsewhere.

In another scene, he singlehandedly wards off a mob of angry white thugs in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn when they became incensed that there are “niggers in the park” and attack him with baseball bats and chains.

Although God has blessed some of us with that amazing sun protectant called melanin, not everyone views it as a blessing. This is especially so in America and Barrett would have to deal with that harsh reality in the workplace, on the streets of Brooklyn and in terrifying encounters with law enforcement.

Although the book recounts his efforts to attain economic freedom via event promotion, restaurants, furniture stores, independent contracting and the corporate ladder, it mostly discloses his perspective on a range of topics. These include dealing with his fellow Jamaicans, fellow black coworkers, Africans, black American females, whites, marriage and other current issues. Barrett does not tread lightly in these areas and he takes no prisoners when it comes to how he feels about them.

Some will love this book, others will have issue with Barrett’s swashbuckling style and approach but in the end, you will come away with an understanding of the mind behind the man and the motivations that have driven him to success.

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