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Author Mase Harrison hopes to keep youth out of jail with his new book

ROLLINGOUT.COM — Not unlike others who grew up in the streets, Mase Harrison has seen and been through a lot. The only difference is that he’s turned his tumultuous story into a message.




By Angela Robinson

Not unlike others who grew up in the streets, Mase Harrison has seen and been through a lot. The only difference is that he’s turned his tumultuous story into a message. Read more to learn about his book The Unsigned Rapper: A Survivor’s Story.

Angela Robinson

Angela Robinson

What inspired you to write this book?

I thought it might’ve been more therapeutic. I talked to a lot of people at work. I work in the nightlife and clubs and a lot of people are always like, “Man, you got interesting stories. Like you [have] been through a lot.” That’s why I did it. and I try and give it as raw and as uncut as humanly possible.

Who or what motivates you and why?

The thing that motivates me right now is my daughter. The reason being, ’cause when I was growing up as you will read in the book, I used to get abused as a child. I never had love growing up. Everything that I should have been, I wasn’t because I had nobody there for me. I was selling cocaine, selling drugs, guns, all type of things. And when she was born, I was actually in jail fighting a 15-year sentence. I eventually beat my charges. She was born while I was in there. I didn’t want her to experience the same things I experienced.

What books have most impacted your life?

One of the books that I read when I was locked up, it’s called We Want Freedom by Mumia Abu-Jamal, and it’s pretty much talking about the struggles of the Black Panthers when they was coming up through the ranks and the things that they had to deal with as far as the discrimination. They going to jail because they trying to make sure that the future is better. Here I am tearing down everything that they built. And then like I said, combine that with the birth of my daughter. It’s kind of like, (snaps fingers), like a light switch that went off.

What was the hardest part of completing this project?

Reliving, reliving everything. A lot of things that I buried in thought, I cast it away. Having to relive all your stories, having to relive being locked in closets, having to relive seeing friends get murdered and raids. And my mom tells me that she hates me and all this type of stuff. Me having to relive all these things all over, [that] was probably the most traumatic thing about it.

What is the mission you set out to accomplish with your voice in this book?

Like I said earlier, I want to target high school kids. I am them. I could tell you, “Bro, like you’re doing this, but this is going to happen. You understand what I’m saying?” I’ve been down that road. I understand how it feels to not have food in the house, not have money in the house. I know how it feels to have to rob just to eat. Like but you don’t have to do that … there’s other ways.

This article originally appeared in

Book Reviews

Mothers that made us, author Anna Malaika Tubbs offers insight, perspective

THE THREE MOTHERS is an assessment of its subjects’ emotional, moral, physiological, psychological, and familial bearings. Further, it explores each subject’s aspirations and motivations, the inherent attributes that inform their existential impact as daughters, as mothers, as members of the movement; their pursuits for dignity, for commerce, for acceptance of and by black people. 




Author and academician Anna Malaika Tubbs takes us on an extraordinary exploration of three matriarchs: Alberta King (Mother of Martin Luther King Jr), Louise Little (mother of Malcolm X), and Berdis Baldwin (mother of James Baldwin). While all of the subjects and their sons no longer live among us, their life lessons live on perpetually.
THE THREE MOTHERS (ISBN: 978-1-250-75612-1, Flatiron Books), is my personal pick for a Mother’s Day gift.
Tubbs, a student of life and learning, earned an undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Stanford University; an MA in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies at Cambridge University and will soon add a PhD in Sociology to her academic accomplishments, also from Cambridge.
The life partner of Michael Tubbs (former Stockton CA mayor now current economic advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom), and soon-to-be-mother of two, beckons us to this critically acclaimed reflection of three iconic women whose parental and personal sacrifices gave way to historical giants of untold proportion.
A portion of our conversation about THE THREE MOTHERS follows–
Sandra Varner (Talk2SV):  Was it always these three mothers that you chose to profile in the book?
Tubbs:  My relationship with these mothers, in that sense, has been relatively short. I didn’t know much about them when I started my PhD. I didn’t have them in my proposal. When I was applying for my PhD program, I was generally interested in telling black women’s stories that had been forgotten. And there were so many stories that we could have chosen.  Many (Black women’s) contributions are erased, not paid attention to, not given the credit they deserve; but I was very inspired by Margo Lee Shetterly’s HIDDEN FIGURES. I knew I wanted to be somebody who also found “hidden figures” and gave them the spotlight they deserved. When I started the PhD, I began to think of all the different layers of erasures I could address in one project.  Thoughts about the many different parts of this horrible problem of erasing stories that still persists–not giving somebody the recognition they deserve.
Assessing how many of those things could I challenge in one project? So I thought about the civil rights movement. I thought about this moment in history we’re in now, crucial to our understanding of the world that we cite over and over again, that we so often speak from the perspective of our male leaders. And we don’t really say much about others who were involved–it’s very male centered perspective. I knew I was going to do something around re-examining the civil rights movement. I also thought about roles in our society that are overlooked and not celebrated in the way I believe they should be.

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Civil Rights Before the Loving Decision

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.





Not so recently in the United States, same sex marriages were illegal. In the last century, there were laws on the books that prohibited folks from different races marrying.  

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

In 1958, Mildred Loving, a Black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for violating the state of Virginia’s laws prohibiting their marriage.

That conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1968, ending discrimination in marriage based on race.

The Loving decision was a catalyst in 2015 to help abolish discrimination in marriage in same-sex marriages, which allowed for equality in the LGBTQ communities of all races including this author.

Before the Loving decision, Joan Steinau, a white woman, married Julius Lester, who at the time was a singer and a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Julius later became a writer.  

Joan and Julius were divorced in 1970.

Next month, Joan’s memoir, “Loving before Loving:  A Marriage in Black and White,” will be released. In the book, she recounts her marriage to Julius Lester before the Loving decision in the midst of the civil rights era as a wife, mother, and activist. 

In an interview with the Post, she said,   “Given both the erasure and distortion of Black lives as presented in the white-led media, the existence of a robust Black press . . .has been essential to the survival and thriving of Black community.”

Quoting the Chicago Daily Defender in her memoir, she said, “When one of its reporters asked President Truman, after he said school integration might lead to intermarriage, ‘Would you want your daughter to marry a Black man if she loved him?’ The president responded with a typical segregationist attitude of the time, ‘She won’t love anybody that’s not her color.’   It was important for the Black reporter to be there, because of course he assumed the possibility that naturally she could love anyone and pointed that out with his question.”

She added,  “That’s just one example of a long history of significant advocacy and reportage by hundreds of Black newspapers over the last 150 years. The Post News Group has jumped into the gap regionally to fill this important space, and I’m grateful for it. Until we have true representation of all experiences/perspectives at major media outlets, we will continue to need media targeted to excluded groups.

“My own history with Oakland/Berkeley dates to the 1980s when I began to visit from the East Coast and plot a way to move here. In 1991, my wife and I did settle in Berkeley. We immediately joined a predominantly Black church in Oakland and began creating a friendship circle. The diverse culture here was high on our list of reasons to move from our predominantly white area in New England. And it has been everything we hoped for.”

Joan Lester dedicates this memoir to her wife, Carole.  In addition to this memoir, she is a commentator, columnist and book author.

“Loving before Loving A Marriage in Black and White” by Joan Steinau Lester is available for pre-order now and on sale on May 18 on Amazon and at local bookstores.

For more information log onto

Wikipedia was a source for this story.

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Vernon Jordan, Former National Urban League President, Dead at 85

Jordan was the former president of the National Urban League and became a close adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton during his administration. A civil rights activist, Jordan also consulted former Pres. Barack Obama.




In this March 3, 2011 photo, Vernon Jordan attends the 40th Anniversary Gala for “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing ToWaste” Campaign at The New York Marriott Marquis. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

Civil rights leader, Democratic strategist and presidential insider Vernon Jordan died at his home in Wash., D.C., Monday evening at age 85. His cause of death was not disclosed.

Jordan was the former president of the National Urban League and became a close adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton during his administration. A civil rights activist, Jordan also consulted former Pres. Barack Obama.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Jordan graduated from DePauw University in Indiana in 1957, where he was the only Black student in a class of 400. He detailed his experience as an undergrad in Robert Penn Warren‘s 1965 book, Who Speaks for the Negro?

Jordan went on to graduate from Howard University School of Law in 1960 and was a prominent member of Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

At one time a field director for the NAACP, Jordan’s passing was noted by Derrick Johnson, the current president of the organization. “Today, the world lost an influential figure in the fight for civil rights and American politics, Vernon Jordan,” Johnson said in a statement early Tuesday. “An icon to the world and a lifelong friend to the NAACP, his contribution to moving our society toward justice is unparalleled.”

“In 2001, Jordan received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for a lifetime of social justice activism,” said Johnson. “His exemplary life will shine as a guiding light for all that seek truth and justice for all people.”

On Twitter, fellow Georgian Stacey Abrams remembered Jordan as well. Mourning the passage of my friend, the extraordinary Vernon Jordan. He battled the demons of voter suppression and racial degradation, winning more than he lost. He brought others with him. And left a map so more could find their way. Love to his family. Travel on with God’s grace,” she said.

Journalist Jonathan Alter praised Jordan’s legacy. “Vernon Jordan’s epic journey from Jim Crow Georgia to the civil rights movement to the pinnacle of the American establishment is a classic American story,” Alter said. He was also one of the most engaging and charismatic people I’ve ever known—and a gifted storyteller on a summer afternoon.

In May of 1980, Jordan was shot outside of an Indiana hotel. As he recovered, Jordan was visited by then-President Jimmy Carter. The president’s visit and the shooting became the very first story covered on CNN, then the nation’s brand new, 24-hour cable news network.

After his time as an adviser to the Clinton White House, Jordan served on the board of several major corporations, including Revlon, Sara Lee, Corning, Xerox and RJR Nabisco.

His 2001 memoir, Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir, won the Best Nonfiction Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

In 2017, in one of his last major appearances, Jordan was the commencement speaker at Syracuse University.

Jordan leaves to cherish his memory his wife Ann Dibble Jordan, daughter Vickee Jordan Adams and seven grandchildren.

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