“Consider us your children for a change and even though you may not want to, Please…Don’t Shoot!”
– Hopscotch On Bloodstained Sidewalks
If you’re familiar with the great works of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, or Haki R. Madhubuti, you’ll want to read this book by Kenneth Marshall, a man with a Social Services background and a voice geared toward exposing the violence that runs rampant in our Black neighborhoods amid the truth of complacency and docility that seems so prevalent in the African-American Communities.
The book is a compact 67 pages and yet, it’s not an easy read. True to life stories are laid out in boldly written scenes of how death, poverty, drugs, violence and police brutality becomes the norm and how life returns to business as usual once the customary grief-stricken member of the neighborhood gives a brief sound bite to an unconcerned media as stalwart members of the community offer the proverbial prayer vigil. The neighborhood pastor who has seen too many deaths, prepares his sermon and tries not to get this victim’s name wrong.
Mr. Marshall reminds us, lest we forget: The one thing that you can count on in the African-American Community is A Funeral. Hopscotch On Bloodstained Sidewalks is a searing account of how we live and react to the violence in our Urban Communities. The book’s message implores a Community sensibilities to step up, commit to working together to find solutions to the cause behind our children seeking drugs and gravitating toward violence. Is it poverty? Is it Cultural? Is it because of family Dynamics? (no father figure) When will we wake up and take back our communities? Author Kenneth Marshall reminds the community people how if we’re not a part of the solution then we are, most definitely, a part of the problem. A child’s prayer: “If I should die before I wake” so often becomes, “Please God protect me when I go to school, play on the playground and stop by the neighborhood candy store.” What can we do as a people to stop the traumatizing madness?
Kenneth Marshall uses his experience in Social Services to take his readers on a voyage through an urban life of drugs, gangs, violence, apathy, police brutality and death of innocent children. Hopscotch On Bloodstained Streets reminds us of the good old days in bits of nostalgia, but it makes us acutely aware: Those days of families looking out for families in our communities are long gone….This book of compassion and activism is mindful of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”…
Clara Freeman is a nurse and freelance feature writer for the BULLETIN.
- FILM: “Take This Hammer” – James Baldwin in San Francisco (colinresponse.wordpress.com)