In this memoir, Dunbar, the son of Jamaican immigrants, reflects on his life, beginning with his childhood in New York State. Now, 50 years afterward, he chronicles his experience as an 18-year-old conscript in a Black U.S. Army labor battalion commanded by white officers, trained in Louisiana and deployed in 1944 to the European Theatre of operations in England and France, to the Western Pacific Theatre of Operations on Guam in 1945 and his discharge in 1946 at Fort Dix, N.J.
Dunbar reminisces about his career as a college teacher at Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss and at Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior College in Little Rock, Ark. He recalls Little Rock as "a veritable paradigm of the best Black secondary and higher education in the post-World War II South."
The author examines his life as a professor of French and dean of the Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences at New York Community College of the City University of New York, from 1965 - through the student unrest and the retrenchment caused by the fiscal crisis in the 1970s - to 1983 when he left to become associate dean of instruction at Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J.
--Annette L. Anderson,
A glowing memoir of a career Black academician during some of America's most turbulent years. Full of life in the United States and abroad, as seen through the eyes of one who always tempered his emotions with intellect. . . . Journeys to Europe helped him develop a facility for French, and earned him his first job as a French teacher. In time, he would move . . . to Mississippi and Arkansas where he met his wife. . . . By 1965, Dunbar joined New York City Community College as teacher and coordinator of its foreign language program. Evolution of his values caused him to ponder Paul Robeson's views on America, preferring "mosaic" to a "melting pot." An inspiring story of a man who used his head, set his sights and achieved distinction in the halls of learning.
His reflections cause him to wonder why he did or did not take some of the other routes which lay before him. Honesty of introspection shows him that he is what he is. This is the kind of brother he is, right or wrong—and certainly far more right than otherwise.
A Brother Like Me catches black life in Mississippi and Arkansas in the 1950s with clarity and penetration.
A memoir of things past that speak to issues of our day. . . . Dr. Dunbar not only examines his life but also asks us to look into ours.
Highlights from DOBB | About Harry B. Dunbar
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