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One of our most visceral and important memoirs on race in America, this is the story of Nathan McCall, who began life as a smart kid in a close, protective family in a black working-class neighborhood. Yet by the age of fifteen, McCall was packing a gun and embarking on a criminal career that five years later would land him in prison for armed robbery.
In these pages, McCall chronicles his passage from the street to the prison yard—and, later, to the newsrooms of The Washington Post and ultimately to the faculty of Emory University. His story is at once devastating and inspiring. For even as he recounts his transformation, McCall compels us to recognize that racism is as pervasive in the newsroom as it is in the inner city, where it condemns so many black men to prison, to dead-end jobs, or to violent deaths. At once an indictment and an elegy, Makes Me Wanna Holler became an instant classic when it was first published in 1994. Now, some two decades later, it continues to bear witness to the great troubles—and the great hopes—of our nation.
With a new afterword by the author
About the Author
Nathan McCall grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. He studied journalism at Norfolk State University after serving three years in prison, and went on to report for the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before joining The Washington Post in 1989. He is the author of a memoir, Makes Me Wanna Holler; an essay collection, What’s Going On; and a novel, Them. McCall is currently is a senior lecturer in African American Studies at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Not since Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land has there been such an honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America....A compelling depiction of the toll that racism and misguided notions of manhood have taken in the life of one black man–and, by implication, many others."–The San Francisco Chronicle