Otis L. Lee Jr

From South Boston to Cambridge

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Travel on a journey of evolution from naiveté as a child in the Jim Crow South, to self-actualization at “the Door of No Return,” on Goree Island, in Senegal, West Africa. Experience some of the travails of the lawyer as solo practitioner, the last of the Lone Rangers, a dying breed. This memoir, written in the nature of a novel, also includes a descriptive genealogical narrative of the Lee Family, one of Charlottesville, Virginia's notable Black families. The solo practice of law in the big city, as well as in smaller towns, offers numerous learning and teachable moments. Maturing as a lawyer requires time, patience, perseverance and a sound strategy but in the solo practitioner's case it also entails a unique occupational journey: From the apprentice lawyer to the journeymen lawyer the ritual of passage is the same regardless of race. Here, as in the military in a time of war, race is blurred by the need to learn and the will to survive and grow. Professional success requires relationships with strange bed fellows where many essential lessons are learned. The competence of the black professional is never assumed; it must be proven even to members of his own race. A curious paradox with roots buried deep in the American story. The politics of race starkly impacted the recent history of a major American city, Philadelphia-in the killing of a police officer, the incineration of a neighborhood and the election of that city's first black mayor. Contrary to what many people may perceive, middle class black families have much in common with middle class white families. They encounter many of the same head winds except the resistance of color in American culture. As a consequence black middle class youth confront deeper issues affecting their journey toward the goal of attaining self-actualization; personal doubts, race acceptance and appreciation, skin color and complexion, obtaining a competitive education, not just an integrated education for the two are
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923 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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