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The one consistent moral force in the early years of African American youth growing up in Louisiana in the 1950s was black religion. Sunday morning was more than simply a time of worship. It was a time of shaping one’s values and learning how to use them, a time of developing a sense of personal identity that could withstand the attacks on the dignity and humanity of those the customs and traditions were shaped to intentionally underdevelop. This chapter tells the story of the refusal to be consumed by hate and the development of the emotional and spiritual intelligence that fostered the drive to succeed against overwhelming odds.

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