by Diane Brady
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Fraternity by Diane Brady

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385529624
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 766,833
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Diane Brady grew up in Scotland and Canada before moving to Nairobi to begin her career as a journalist. She now writes for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York City, where she lives with her husband and three children. This is her first book.

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Fraternity 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
Diane Brady's book FRATERNITY is about Jesuit-run Holy Cross College of Worcester, Massachusetts in the years 1968 - 1972. On April 4, 1968 the world changed for millions of people: Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in Memphis. FRATERNITY focuses on how that day redirected five black teens and one Catholic priest who brought them and other young black men to Holy Cross as scholarship students. The five boys were (1) footballer Stan Grayson, (2) future Miami Dolphins running back Eddie Jenkins, (3) future Pulitizer Prize winner Edward P. Jones, (4) angry ex-seminarian Clarence Thomas and (5) Ted Wells who would become the greatest trial lawyer of his generation. (6) The priest was John E. Brooks, S.J., theology professor, about to become President (1970 - 1994) of Holy Cross College. *** Father Brooks detested anti-black racism and what it did to the soul of his Jesuit college. Putting blacks down was instinctive to whites and it was sinful. Brooks said in 1969, "White racism is to the white man as original sin is to mankind." By raising the number of black men at Holy Cross from eight to 28 in one year via active recruiting and four-year scholarships, Brooks made blacks visible on Holy Cross's manicured campus. It was no longer possible for faculty and students to miss what centuries of mistreatment had done to hold back bright black boys. *** The best thing that Father Brooks could do for his teenage black students was to encourage them to think for themselves, think new thoughts, share them with him, with white and black friends, and then set to work to become the men God wanted them to be and whom they chose to be for themselves. Semester by semester author Diane Brady carries the five young black men whom she focuses on and a handful of others through their experiences at Holy Cross and how those few years shaped their futures. In recent interviews conducted with all six principals, their friends, wives, professors and others, Diane Brady found a profound love among black students for Father John Brooks. Said trial lawyer Theodore Wells publicly of Brooks in 2008: "I love this man." And Justice Clarence Thomas added that Father Brooks treated him and others as distinct individuals. They were not symbols, not means for Holy Cross's end of doing penance for white guilt for injustices to blacks. "We were just kids." FRATERNITY is an astonishingly good book: well conceived, effectively organized, clearly presented, not preachy, but very convincing. Echoing, perhaps, the gospel according to Rudyard Kipling (in CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, THE LIGHT THAT FAILED and elsewhere), Father Brooks convinced his black "kids" to believe in themselves and in their personal this-world salvation through hard work. There are also at times disturbing overtones of Thornton Wilder's great THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY. What was God's plan in bringing those six people together? -OOO-
alex6577 More than 1 year ago
Clarence Thomas likes to dismiss this college years as his lost years of being a radical. This book proves it's not true. Don't look to his memoir for insight. The guy only spent a few pages on Holy Cross. Here, I walked away with a fuller sense of the man. And I got terrific insight into Ted Wells, who's probably the best lawyer operating in America today. What a story. What a time. Can't believe it's been 40 years and none of us really knew about this.
PegT More than 1 year ago
A well written historical account of some of the first African-American students to attend Holy Cross College during the challenging times of the late 60's and early 70's. A Jesuit priest mentors and helps guide their journey, in some cases to the pinnacle of success in their chosen field. For people who grew up during this period , its a vivid snapshot of their past and for all others a great inspiration.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent portrait of the struggles of the sixties. Pertinent today!
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