Can a Young Black Male Excel in a Predominantly White Campus? Jenkins’ book tells about the stark realities of racism and what we can do to change it. Can he overcome tremendous obstacles and rise above people’s stereotypical image of blacks? Follow Martin MacCallister through his experiences in If You Can’t Make It On Mark Ave, a fascinating book written by H.L. Jenkins. If You Can’t Make It On Mark Ave deals with the overwhelming circumstances of being young, black and misled by the stereotypical images portrayed in his neighborhood and in the media. The main character, Martin MacCallister finds himself on a predominately-white campus and experiences conflicting cultural systems of ethics, morals and values; with the battle line drawn between Martin’s “hood mentality” and the “civil” mentality of the predominant culture. Through this short story, the author explores Martin’s circumstances and how he copes with them. Did he bend under pressure or did he fight to find and establish his own identity? Only time will tell as the events unravel. A story of self-discovery, If You Can’t Make It On Mark Ave reflects the author’s own experiences as he overcame the tremendous obstacles of poverty, crime, and violence. He believes that one finds and develop one’s self through experience and one’s particular environment throughout their life. In this book, Jenkins shares a distillation of personalities and perceptions that are allegorically identified throughout particular poems, essays, and characters. He also points out the stark reality that racism still exists in American society. His insights provoke thought about change in society and what we can do about it. It’s not enough to just think about it. We should act on it!
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