I’d like to make you aware of one of the most important projects I’ve ever been part of: the recently published book, SHARING COMMON GROUND. I was asked to co-write it by Billy Keyserling – successful three-term mayor of Beaufort, SC who’s now making a different contribution. The impact of this book can help reduce racism against Black people. (For real.)
I grew up in Beaufort taunted as a child as “The Dirty Jew Boy” in the heavily Southern Baptist town. I know what anti-Semitism feels like, and, as a result, I felt empathy with the Black community early on. Some of my songs as a lyricist have won awards and recognition for promoting a greater understanding of diversity … to help reduce racism, misogyny, homophobia, ageism, etc.
I’m blessed to be an American “with freedom and justice for all” … passionately promoting fairness and eliminating prejudice using my one main gift in life: My Friends, The Words. Which brings me to my song about equality, created with Gil Polk and called “Common Ground”.
I was honored that Mayor Billy asked me to co-write a book with a title inspired by the song. Called “Sharing Common Ground: Promises Unfulfilled but Not Forgotten,” it directs us to the achievements of formerly enslaved Blacks during the Reconstruction era of American history (1885-1877.) It urges that those achievements be more actively taught to middle school children – and not just in S.C.
When Black people were stolen from their homes in Africa, they brought their inherent intelligence and skills. Under President Lincoln’s leadership, there were hundreds of thousands of these so-called “freedmen” in the South who were finally able to draw on their innate capabilities. These former slaves’ successes, however, are largely unknown today. They don’t have to be.
The more kids learn what Black people accomplished, the more respect they will have for them. That respect for diversity will draw us close together as a society. Learning to be more united and mutually supportive by reducing racism against Black people will make America even stronger as a whole.
You can buy the book on the website above or, of course, on amazon.
And if you happen to be with a media outlet, I’d encourage you to interview Mayor Billy first-hand. He really knows his stuff and I’d be happy to connect you!