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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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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

Nov 07, 2011 – Tucked under a title suggesting beer kegs and silliness rests a serious, readable narrative of four years in the life of the Rev. John Brooks and the cohort of extraordinary young black men he shepherded through Holy Cross College from their arrival to their 1972 graduation. Galvanized by Marin Luther King Jr. s assassination in April 1968, a time to heed King s call to action and take up the mantle of civil rights, Rev. Brooks secured authorization to seek out black recruits and offer them full scholarships to the College of the Holy Cross. By September, Holy Cross, in Massachusetts, had 19 black freshmen and one transfer, a remarkable achievement in an institution that rarely admitted more than two black men in any given year. The young men turned out to be a remarkable group as well, including, among the figures Brady attends most closely to, Edward P. Jones, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Known World; Theodore Wells, widely considered to be one of the greatest trial lawyers of his generation, having represented Scooter Libby and Michael Milken; and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the transfer student. Although the topic may seem parochial, Brady, senior editor at BusinessWeek, has produced a cogent account that ripples more broadly and addresses issues that remain, notably affirmative action programs, but also the roles of faculty and staff, of alumni, and even parents in determining the direction of a college.

Customer Reviews

Turbulent times

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.

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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Education
  • Published: Jan 03, 2012
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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