The Color of Time: My Life on the Edge of Change (Paperback)

The Color of Time: My Life on the Edge of Change By Abe --- Markman Cover Image
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"The Color of Time" focuses on how I and my African-American wife dealt with five generations of changing attitudes to our marriage. My observations were influenced by years as an inner-city social group worker and activist, and as a white man, married in 1953 to a brown-skinned woman, Charlotte Elaine Cochran. At that time, entering such a union was considered by many as an outrageous affront to their sensibilities and beyond acceptable behavior. What mattered most to us, however, was the devotion we had to each other, to the success of our marriage, and to our children and grandchildren. They came into our arms and our world with distinct personalities, tendencies, aptitudes, skin colors, and hair textures. How we all fared and adapted was heavily dependent on whether we were born before, during or after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. I tried to describe as sensitively as I could both our own and other people's reaction to each of us separately and as a family. The sub-title "My Life on the Edge of Change" adds a series of essays of my howling into the wind against injustice and being surprised when someone listened. As my son reminds me, however, this book is not just about our family, and my activism, it is about me. It is mainly about my determination since childhood to prove mostly to members of my pre-marriage/all white family-but principally to myself-that I could overcome considerable limitations. As the youngest by far both among my four siblings, and my pre-teen, peer group, I was often thought of as "the kid who couldn't keep up" and that my ambitions were well beyond my capabilities. I felt the pain of being seriously misjudged, mistreated, and underestimated by some. Yet I also felt the joy of being profoundly inspired by others. Despite having felt humiliation in school as a very slow reader, I discovered in my 20s that I had several valuable traits and abilities. I could conceptualize the meaning of some societal phenomenon and think of creative ways to resolve seemingly intractable inter-personal and public issues. I attained skills in organizing and leading small groups, pursuing and sometimes opening paths toward a niche of progressive change and social justice. As I felt mistreated, I had empathy for others in similar or much worse circumstances. Sometimes, no matter what I did resulted in failure. At other times I was able to anticipate, reach for, navigate, and inspire ethical and progressive change. I was fortunate as a white person to witness and experience from an intimate vantage point the rich culture, courage and resilience of many people of color. On the other hand, I observed and sometimes felt-but could only imagine-the daily drumbeat of the unjust treatment they faced. I divided this book into two sections. The first section describes my experiences as: -a white man of Jewish heritage in a black world; -an inner-city community social group worker; -an activist, and - an essayist. Charlotte and I learned before and during our marriage that we were not fully prepared for what we faced, and the world was definitely not prepared to face us. The book deals with: In SECTION ONE, how my closest kin reacted to my marriage. Mom and Pop, enraged by my choice to marry Charlotte, were, however, on a journey to accept the marriage, and I didn't recognize that until it was pointed out to me by Gary Markman, who wrote the introduction and edited a draft of this book. The Color of Tomorrow is a chapter in the book and it is based on a quest for the survival of the human species. In Section Two, among other aims, I tried to describe my parents more fully and how they had a profound effect both on our large Jewish clan and the ethnic soul that exists both proudly and uncomfortably inside of me. So, please accept my invitation to the color of my time and a vision of our tomorrow.

About the Author

Abe Markman earned a Master's Degree in Social Group Work from New York University in 1958. He worked in inner-city settlement houses as a group worker, supervisor and director of children's and youth programs for fifty years. In 1980 Abe co-founded and ran a highly successful social service non-profit, till his retirement in 2000. The Neighborhood Self-Help by Older People Project is now in its 37th year serving several areas of The Bronx. Abe chaired the Lower East Side Call for Justice from 1992 to 2012. It is a grass roots organization that opposed the death penalty, the draconian Rockefeller Drug laws, and police brutality. He believes in non-violent, civil disobedience and was arrested twice in support of these causes. With his colleagues, Abe conducted over 250 workshops with youth groups on what to do when stopped by the police. As head of the Call for Justice Abe was credited with initiating a campaign and seeing adopted a New York Police Department rule. As a result police officers are banned from carrying their guns when they know they will be drinking heavily. Abe has been a member of the New York Society for Ethical Culture for 16 years but says he has had an emotional and philosophical bonding with Ethical Culture for over fifty years. In 2008 he helped start and chair the Public Issues Committee (PIC.) It partnered with other organizations in support of paid sick leave, paid family leave, children's health insurance, stem cell research, and global warming. The Borough President of the Bronx credits Abe with playing a crucial role in the passing of paid sick leave in New York City. Two of his essays were published by The Humanist magazine, "Overcoming a Heritage of Prejudice" and "Why Are So Many Black Americans Killed by the Police?" Also, the on-line African-American magazine Politics365 published his article, "Challenging Obama's Calmness." In recognition of his activism, and courage in pursuit of justice he was awarded the 2010 Community Service Award by The New York Society for Ethical Culture - his spiritual home.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780692987308
ISBN-10: 0692987304
Publisher: Abe Markman
Publication Date: January 31st, 2018
Pages: 260
Language: English