This book represents the collaborative efforts of three authors, including a university president and professors of psychology and social work, respectively AR three authors have focused much of their research on vanous issues related to the status of minorities in American society. Tlwo of the three authors are fathers of sons (the third has daughters), and as we worked on this book, we all talked about points of similarity and difference in our own backgrounds and in our approaches to rearing our children.
For me, as a Black child growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in Birmingham, Alabama, no one was more critical to my development than my parents and family. Both my father and mother made me feel that I was the most special part of their lives and that my future would be bright for two reasons: first, I would be well prepared academically because of my hard work and their efforts to give me as many opportunities as a Black child in the fifties could have; second, because of these opportunities, I would be expected to "give back" to others. My parents taught me by example the importance of work, faith, family, and being the best. Actually, like many of my Black peers, my parents told my brother and me that we had to work twice as hard. I also am extremely grateful to the many others in Birmingham who loved, praised, and raised me as if I were their own, including family members, neighbors, teachers, friends of the family, and my pastor and church members.
Regarding the preparation of this book, it has been an enormously gratifying and enjoyable experience collaborating with my coauthors, from whom I have learned a great deal. I wish to thank Mr. and Mrs. Robert Meyerhoff, without whose generosity, both financial and personal, there would not be a Meyerhoff Program and, consequently, this book would not have been written. I also want to thank the young men in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program and their families for allowing us to inquire in