California Studies Association

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“Palo Alto Reads” — Brian Copeland on his book, “Not a Genuine Black, Man: My Life as an Outsider,” Jan. 28

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In the Palo Alto Reads series, author Brian Copeland will discuss his new book, Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider.

From the announcement:

In the summer of 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, hoping for a better life. At the time, San Leandro was 99.99% white and the suburban community was not welcoming to African Americans. This reputation was confirmed almost immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car. Days later, Brian was turned away by several barbers who said “we don’t cut that kind of hair.”

It was a time that Brian spent his adult years trying to forget, until one day an anonymous letter arrived that forced him to reevaluate his childhood: “As an African American, I am disgusted every time I hear your voice because YOU are not a genuine black man!”

A poignant, hilarious, and disarming memoir about growing up black in an all-white suburb, Not a Genuine Black Man is also a powerful contemplation on the meaning of race, and a thoughtful examination of how our surroundings make us who we are.

Palo Alto Reads: Brian Copeland
Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider
Wednesday January 28, 2009 6:30 p.m.

Location: Palo Alto High School Haymarket Theater, 50 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto

FREE and Open to the Public


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