Passage tells the story of Warrior, a young black man navigating the snowy winter streets of Harlem and Brooklyn in 1993. Warrior is surrounded by deep family love and a sustaining connection to his history, bonds that arm him as he confronts the urban forces that surround him–both supernatural and human–including some that seek his very destruction.
“In [Lazarre-White’s] world, mysticism and madness walk hand in hand with the waking reality of so many young Black men in America, a reality that by any rational measure is itself insane.” –Susan L. Taylor
For Warrior and his peers, the reminders that they, as black men, aren’t meant to be fully free, are everywhere. The high schools are filled with teachers who aren’t qualified and don’t care as much about their students’ welfare as that they pass the state exams. Getting from point A to point B usually means eluding violence, and possibly death, at the hands of the “blue soldiers” and your own brothers. Making it home means accepting that you may open the door to find that someone you love did not have the same good fortune.
Warrior isn’t even safe in his own mind. He’s haunted by the spirits of ancestors and of the demons of the system of oppression. Though the story told in Passage takes place in 1993, there is a striking parallel between Warrior’s experience and the experiences of black male youth today, since nothing has really changed. Every memory in the novel is the memory of thousands of black families. Every conversation is a message both to those still in their youth and those who left their youth behind long ago. Passage is a novel for then and now.
Khary Lazarre-White is a writer, social justice advocate, attorney, and activist who has dedicated his life to the educational outcome and opportunities for young people of color at key life stages. His support base is far-reaching and diverse, built over the past twenty-two years as co-founder and executive director of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. He has received awards for his work, including the Oprah Winfrey Angel Network Use Your Life Award, the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award, awards from Black Girls Rock! and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and a Resident Fellowship Award to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. Khary Lazarre-White is a highly influential presence among national policymakers and broadcast, print, and social media outlets. He has written for the Huffington Post, NYU Press, Nation Books, and MSNBC.com, and has edited three books, The Brotherhood Speaks, Voices of the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, and Off the Subject. He lives in Harlem, New York City. Passage is his first novel.
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