One of our most visceral and important memoirs on race in America, this is the story of Nathan McCall, who began life as a smart kid in a close, protective family in a black working-class neighborhood. Yet by the age of fifteen, McCall was packing a gun and embarking on a criminal career that five years later would land him in prison for armed robbery.
In these pages, McCall chronicles his passage from the street to the prison yard—and, later, to the newsrooms of The Washington Post and ultimately to the faculty of Emory University. His story is at once devastating and inspiring. For even as he recounts his transformation, McCall compels us to recognize that racism is as pervasive in the newsroom as it is in the inner city, where it condemns so many black men to prison, to dead-end jobs, or to violent deaths. At once an indictment and an elegy, Makes Me Wanna Holler became an instant classic when it was first published in 1994. Now, some two decades later, it continues to bear witness to the great troubles—and the great hopes—of our nation.