Today my wife and I visited The American Writers Museum. Located in Downtown Chicago This is the first museum of its kind. Featured were the works of Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Frost. Prominently featured were also the works of great, best selling African American writers including: Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), Frederick Douglass (1818-1891), Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), Alex Haley (1921-1992), James Baldwin (1924-1987), and Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965).
Viewing the works of prominent African American writers dispels the myth that, " if you want to hide anything from an African American, put it between the pages of a book. " Reading has always been an important recovery tool for African Americans with Substance Use Disorders. Consider the story of Benneth Lee, who went from gang leader, and heroin addict to the Addictions Counselor of the year. According to Benneth, " I was on death row for the one crime I did not commit. They placed me in solitary confinement. This is the place where people tend to lose their mind. Someone left a book in the cell. To deal with boredom and to stay sane, I picked up the book. I decided I would toss the book in the air and what ever page it landed on is where I would start reading. The book was titled, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The book landed on the page where Malcolm was in prison and could not read. The book mentioned that Malcolm learned to read in prison, reading the dictionary from cover to cover. At that time I could barely read. I got access to a dictionary and learned to read. Once I learned to read, I was no longer a prisoner, I was an inmate. Reading freed me!
To learn more about biblio-therapy as a recovery tool for African Americans with substance use disorders, click here.