One perspective of the American Dream
An Engelhard native will sign copies of his 282-page book “Kronicles of a Kolored Kid” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Spencer’s True Value store in Engelhard.
“Essentially, it’s a chronicle, a journey what it took to become Dr. Johnson — scrubbing floors, washing dishes, working nights, working in potato fields and cucumber fields in Engelhard. The struggle to persevere during times of poverty and significant challenge,” said author Henry Vanderbilt Johnson Jr., 60, about his book.
Johnson has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech. The book also looks at his experience and work at East Carolina University, where he earned an education-specialist degree. He has two education-related degrees from N.C. A&T State University. He is an associate professor and coordinator of middle-school grades and secondary education at Elizabeth City State University.
Johnson also is the author of an academic publication,“Rap Music: Popular Perceptions and Its Affect on the Lives of Adolescents Attending Jackson Middle and Grimsley High Schools of Guilford County, North Carolina,” a 438-page book published by Virginia Tech.
Johnson grew up in eastern North Carolina. His mother, Belle Johnson, 89, lives in Engelhard. He is the middle child with four other siblings. His father, 21-year Army veteran Henry Vanderbilt Johnson Sr., is dead.
Johnson explains why he wrote the book and what he hopes it will accomplish.
“Having grown up in Hyde County and recognizing that Hyde County is one of the poorest counties in the state of North Carolina, pretty much I wanted to convey to my peers and the younger generation that if you take academics seriously and treat people in a kind a decent manner, you don’t have to be a product of the more impoverished community and that one does not have to sell drugs and engage in illegal activity to get some of the finer things in life,” Johnson said. “I’m speaking from the perspective of the black community. It’s not uncommon for many of the young brothers to get involved in the drug trade and then find themselves incarcerated.”
Johnson said the book’s message is there’s another way to get those finer things in life, but one has to work hard to do that.
“One does not have to engage in illegal activity to gain some of the things we deem symbolic and having to achieve,” he said.
The book also describes the educator’s problems with the educational system he experienced while growing up, his encounters with the Ku Klux Klan
“Kronicles of a Kolored Kid” is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and other sources.