In 1968, a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history.
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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.
From the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Having been on the Holy Cross campus and knowing some of these men personally but superficially, this book honestly represents the turbulence during a most historic era in the history of Holy Cross.
It was a time of questioning virtually everything including authority. It was a time when nothing seemed to have an easy answer and when growing up in the 50's meant everything was black and white and those in authority told you what to think, the late 60's seemed to be nothing but nuance and shades of gray.
Father Brooks was and is a heroic figure and has made an indelible mark on the College of the Holy Cross.
However, I was very glad to read the recognition of Fr. Swords, the president at the time, who ultimately was responsible for and made those important decisions. The class of 1970 was honored to have Fr. Swords as our commencement speaker. No other class in the history of the College had ever had the president serve that role.
In keeping with the honesty of those times, Ms. Brady does a terrific job of making sure that the men that she writes about are not one dimensional caricatures but men of complexity with enormous depths of courage but with flaws and defects that we all have. These are real people living in a time of enormous changes.
May these men continue to positively influence others in their lives and my very best to Father Brooks, Ted, Eddie, Clarence but especially my classmates Art and Bob.