This book, "Cherished in the Byways", is intended to inspire poor and abused young people to succeed, even if support from family is not available. I have written about an experience: As a 19 year old African-American--one of eleven children whose father never earned more that fifty-five dollars in any week, I arrived at Chicago's Union Station with a duffel bag containing everything I owned in this world and twenty-eight dollars in cash. I knew no one in Chicago and I had no relatives in Chicago. Twelve years later I had a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Doctorate in Medicine. I am now a board-certified pediatrician.
My audience for my book ranges from high school through young adulthood, especially those needing encouragement to persist in seeking goals when there is not much support. However, even older adults: teachers, doctors, clergymen, godparents, nuns, coaches, or anyone else who can nurture and support goals of striving youngsters are important in my audience.
I had not told anyone that I wanted to become a doctor; from a black derelict, that would sound ridiculous! as I indicated above, I arrived in Chicago with all I owned in a duffel bag... I had no relatives in Chicago, I knew no one in Chicago.
In the YMCA on Wabash Avenue, I counted my meager funds: a twenty dollar bill and an empty Viceroy cigarette pack filled with nickels, dimes,and quarters totalling about eight dollars. So I had a total of twenty-eight dollar upon which to build a new life.
12 years later, on JUNE 7th, 1971, a ten year old boy in my hometown, Mobile, delivered a newspaper, "The Mobile Register", to many of the houses where I had delivered numbers(lottery) slips many years earlier as a child. Inside the newspaper was the following announcement:
"Mobilian graduates from medical school--Leroy Anthony Owens, former Mobilian and graduate of the Most Pure Heart of Mary High School, has completed the required studies and training for a Doctorate of Medicine Degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Owens, of Mobile, who graduated with Special Awards, will intern at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C.
" Years later, the following article appeared in THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, dated Sunday, July 12,1987:
".....the 71-year-old former YMCA Hotel at 9th street and Wabash Avenue is being renovated with amenities that the former occupants could not have imagined.
Many early (YMCA) residents were destitute transients flocking to the city(Chicago) in hopes of starting a new life.
Join me as I show you how I, "a destitute transient", became a Doctor of Medicine.
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