I am grateful for having kept my pledge By Malik Ahmed

I am grateful to be alive and in relatively good health. Many black men who were born and raised under impoverished conditions don’t live long enough to tell their story of overcoming the many obstacles that clogged their path and the joy of the journey. I am grateful to have been raised by a loving […]

HomeGrown STL nearing action ‘on the ground’

HomeGrown STL is close to putting its strategy for collective impact to work in St. Louis. The project, part of the Center for Social Development’s Race and Opportunity Lab, aims to support the social mobility of black boys and men between the ages of 12 and 29 in St. Louis City and County. “We want […]

Disparities in Educational Experiences of Black Youth

A more comprehensive picture of mental health that includes subjective well-being and other positive mental health characteristics could lead to more successful educational experiences among black youth, finds a recent study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “We demonstrated the need to use a dual-factor model of mental health among adolescents […]

Regional Summit featured in Center for Social Development News

The HomeGrown STL Inaugural Summit, February 9 at the Brown School, drew about 120 people committed to improving the lives of black boys and young men in St. Louis City and County. “Equity and economics are different sides of the same coin,” said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber, in welcoming […]

HomeGrown STL featured in the St. Louis American

Sean Joe developed Home Grown STL as a response to moving to St. Louis to take a faculty position at Washington University in August 2014 – the same month of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. Home Grown STL is a research project that consists of networking events with local professionals to seek […]

Series seeks to change narrative for local black males

HomeGrown STL Director Sean Joe and St. Louis American Managing Editor Chris King have teamed up to produce a yearlong series called “Homegrown Black Males” to change the narrative for local black teens and men. The series launched Aug. 9, marking four years since the police shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, to whom the […]

Learning to nurture by Marcel Scaife

I grew up in a two-parent, two-income household in Jennings. I would say I had it pretty good.  In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Jennings was a great place to be. I can remember my dad taking me to Northland or River Roads to shop. I had white classmates and white neighbors. I understood […]

From destruction to responsibility By Farrakhan Shegog

Growing up, I was told St. Louis makes people tough. It was said people came from all over the country to St. Louis to gain street credit. Today, we have many young black males in St. Louis fleeing to other cities to escape the tragedy of St. Louis. I spent most of my childhood in […]

Living for myself and Demetri by Tyshon Sikes

I grew up without my biological father. Not having that portion of my life caused distress and anger. I was constantly getting in trouble at school and at home to get my anger out. I moved in with my grandfather when I was 4 years old because he spoiled me and I enjoyed being with […]

Reviving forgotten communities by Cyril D. Loum

Upon arrival in the United States, my parents had their funding as missionaries discontinued because they chose to be with their children away from a war-torn country. This meant that our food came from food banks and clothing from co-ops, which ended up providing us with the necessary resources to survive. Survival also was based […]

Fulfilling the expectations of a man by Chester A. Deanes Jr.

My parents migrated to St. Louis from Aberdeen, Mississippi, expecting to build a good life for us. A year later, Daddy left us. He sent us Easter clothes and trunks full of toys during Christmas. He was not present and involved, but he sent packages! When I was 10, one Saturday after working her second […]

How I learned to be a leader By Jerrel Sibert

On September 23, 2005, a black male was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and my parents named me Jerrel Sibert. Growing up I was a pretty privileged black kid who always had a lot of toys and entertainment. So I never knew the issues that were going on around me in my own city, like […]

Investment in black males pays off by Kelvin J. Taylor Sr.

While 66 percent of African-American children live in single-parent households, black students attend disproportionately underfunded schools, and black juveniles are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, we are neither predisposed nor destined for bad outcomes. The black men in my circle are pastors, bankers, philanthropists, successful entrepreneurs, corporate officers and […]

Beyond fear of the black male By Curtis O’Dwyer

On August 15, 2014, the day after celebrating new beginnings by proposing to my wife, I returned to my city in turmoil. Many mourned the death of Michael Brown. The raw footage on the news and social media outlets depicted outrage and uprising. Ferguson was in a state of emergency, and I was only five […]

Saving our sons – and all our students by Michael P. McMillan

As the new school year begins we need to see what has changed in our educational system, especially for African Americans. For the first time in many years, the responsibility of educating students is returning to the states. The U.S. Department of Education has approved Missouri’s state plan for public education under the Every Student […]

The black man who survived education by Luther O. Tyus

I will never forget what my Riverview Gardens elementary principal, Denis Dorsey, told my parents. He told my parents that I wasn’t smart enough for college. I didn’t have what it took, he said. I was in the second grade, and I had already developed a healthy dislike for school.  Sure, I wasn’t a model […]

Learning to beat the cheat By Mike Jones

When I was 12 or 13 years old, my father gave me some advice that became the compass for my journey through this American life. He said, “Michael, if you’re going to gamble, the first thing you have to do is learn to cheat. Not so you can cheat people, but so you’ll know when […]

My journey to training responsible fathers by Halbert Sullivan

During my religious upbringing, I was taught, “Train up the child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.” These words help set the foundation for the work I do. I believe that effective parenting plays a major role in the emotional and psychological development of a child. Children are […]

When black men stop smiling by Stefan Bradley

“How’s the team going to be this year?” was one of the first questions I heard as I began my college career at a private predominantly white institution (PWI). To be fair, I am relatively tall, so I accommodated the query of the friendly white student. I said that the team would be great and […]

Fathers Support Center helped Mark Seymore double his income by Jordan Wade

‘He just needed someone to point him in the right direction’ Mark Seymore grew up in a neighborhood that police have labeled as one of the highest crime areas in the region, around Page and Goodfellow boulevards in North St. Louis. “There wasn’t a lot of role models or anything positive to follow,” Seymore said. […]

How 400 days in Ferguson changed my life by Bruce Franks Jr.

August 9, 2014 changed my life. That date is burned into our memory as the day Michael Brown was killed. But it’s also the date my son, King, turned 1. So we’re getting ready for his get-together – blowing up balloons, firing up the barbecue – when my social media starts going crazy. I get […]

I. Am. A. BLACK. Man. By Rev. Starsky D. Wilson

Fifty years ago, a group of under-appreciated, underpaid black men who kept the city of Memphis healthy by purging its streets of waste, refuse and trash had to remind elected leaders and city fathers that they were indeed human. They held placards in public calling for basic dignity, stating simply “I Am A Man.” Four […]