Mateen Ajala Diop's life was a rollercoaster of one misfortune after another. He had to endure an abusive stepfather who repeatedly raped his older sister from a very young age. To escape his stepfather, Mateen's mother took him and his sister away. This move saw Mateen end up in Alamo Heights, San Antonio, where he constantly endured racist taunting and abuse. With increasing exposure to racism and racial discrimination, Mateen coasted through life without any guidance or prospects until he had a moment of clarity in the military. What was this moment about, and how did it alter Mateen's life? This autobiography is the story of one man's battle against all odds for the educational emancipation of himself and his people.
Dr. Mateen Diop deserves attention as he skillfully traces his path from inner-city child to inner-city high school principal in one of the most economically segregated cities in the United States. His childhood experience, his complicated relationship with his family, his determination to complete his higher education, and his encounters with blatant racism and adversity contribute to his success in his career and as a human being who cares deeply about helping all students succeed. He talks straight, openly, and brutally honestly, authentically sharing good and bad experiences. The book reads like a face-to-face conversation with Dr. Diop - a role model and inspiration for all.