Black and Brilliant By Rodney L. Hurst, Sr.

Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views – I’ve been a fan of Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. since he won the 2020 Reader Views Literary Awards’ Non-Fiction Prize for “Never Forget Who You Are” by Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. and Rudy F. Jamison, Jr.  So, I snatched his new book “Black and Brilliant” as soon as I saw it on this year’s awards submissions pile and not only did it not disappoint, it has increased my admiration and respect for him as a civil rights leader, role model for teens and young adults; and as a human being.

“Black and Brilliant” is a short, straight-forward little book that presents readers with civil rights history firsthand accounts from the South as the author’s personal experiences are woven with historical events that molded the author into who he is today but also molded his beloved city of Jacksonville, Florida. His story and historical facts are structured in 23 small chapters making this book easy to read. The reader’s experience is enriched with awesome black-and-white events, places, and people-relevant pictures. The factual, and personal stories recounted here by Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. will captivate readers as they flow like stories thanks to Rodney’s direct, clear, and personable voice.

I read his book in one sitting but have been back to it multiple times as its content revisits my mind sparked by current events and my own new awareness about my lack of knowledge of Black History. I want to illustrate an example of what I mean.  Those who know me will tell you that I am a well-read history buff. As the daughter of Fascism and WWI Italian survivor immigrants to South America, I was fed history books and historical memoirs at a young age, as my mother dealt with hers and my father’s traumas. That is the origin of my passion for Civil rights and the books I now choose to read. But other than some harassment and ignorant comments here and there for being a white female Spanish Latin-American immigrant, I have not experienced racial discrimination at all. Yet, I thought I knew so much because of all I had read about it until I read this on Chapter 2 – page 8 in Rodney L. Hurst, Sr.’s “Black and Brilliant:”

Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on behalf of whites at the expense of Blacks, whether whites know it or like it.

The above definition put everything I have learned about racism in America under a new lens of the eye, which made my reading even more enlightening and what I got from the book so much more profound.

“Black and Brilliant” by Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. is a little book, easy to read, filled with knowledge about civil rights, Black History, and unsung heroes who fight every day to make a difference. Another Five-star book by Rodney L. Hurst, Sr. that should be required reading in all schools and for all parents to learn and change the system!

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