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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / 20th Century
  • Language:English
  • Pages:200
  • eBook ISBN:9780989216609

Casualties of Freedom

The True Story of Heroic Young People Who Helped Change America

by Michael Coston

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Overview
Armed with a knife in one pocket and the Little Red Book in the other, Michael Coston battled his way through the social hierarchies, racial strife, and burgeoning revolutionary movements that defined his adolescence in the sixties and seventies. Beginning from his earliest glimpses of racist violence as a middle-class black child in Philadelphia, his memoir provides an intimate lens into the transformation of Black American consciousness. Whether ‘liberating’ medical supplies for Black Panther social programs under their overcoats, or leading anti-war walkouts at predominantly black Germantown High, Coston and his comrades were at the vanguard of a militant spirit that is so desperately needed today. While we know the story of the gangster-turned-Panther, Coston’s is an untold tale of a young black leftist and budding journalist who used his social network to build solidarity across the white anti-war movement, black militants, and cultural nationalists. In the tradition of the oldest abolitionist newspapers, Coston helped set the minds of his peers ablaze as a distributor of newspapers, from the progressive Philadelphia Free Press to the Black Panther Newspaper, Temple’s The Black Torch and eventually the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Speaks. As the momentum for liberation crested around him, and then waned into the addiction and violence of the post-Vietnam era, Coston was left as “a revolutionary with no revolution to fight,” and was dangerously close to being a casualty of freedom. Forty years later, the same Germantown High that voted Coston ‘most militant’ for his yearbook is closing its doors forever, while a pro-war black president sits in the White House – Casualties of Freedom is a potent reminder of how much work is yet to be done, and where each one of us can start.
Description
Armed with a knife in one pocket and the Little Red Book in the other, Michael Coston battled his way through the social hierarchies, racial strife, and burgeoning revolutionary movements that defined his adolescence in the sixties and seventies. Beginning from his earliest glimpses of racist violence as a middle-class black child in Philadelphia, his memoir provides an intimate lens into the transformation of Black American consciousness. Whether ‘liberating’ medical supplies for Black Panther social programs under their overcoats, or leading anti-war walkouts at predominantly black Germantown High, Coston and his comrades were at the vanguard of a militant spirit that is so desperately needed today. While we know the story of the gangster-turned-Panther, Coston’s is an untold tale of a young black leftist and budding journalist who used his social network to build solidarity across the white anti-war movement, black militants, and cultural nationalists. In the tradition of the oldest abolitionist newspapers, Coston helped set the minds of his peers ablaze as a distributor of newspapers, from the progressive Philadelphia Free Press to the Black Panther Newspaper, Temple’s The Black Torch and eventually the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Speaks. As the momentum for liberation crested around him, and then waned into the addiction and violence of the post-Vietnam era, Coston was left as “a revolutionary with no revolution to fight,” and was dangerously close to being a casualty of freedom. Forty years later, the same Germantown High that voted Coston ‘most militant’ for his yearbook is closing its doors forever, while a pro-war black president sits in the White House – Casualties of Freedom is a potent reminder of how much work is yet to be done, and where each one of us can start.
About the author
Michael Coston, the author of Casualties of Freedom, is his first book and memoir. Michael came of age during a great period of change in the United States. As a child he experienced horrific acts of racism and violence in the West Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. Michael’s home life was also in constant turmoil and as such he turned inward and a developed the habit for voracious reading. He lost himself in biographies of the famous and read endless history books. During high school, Michael found is voice by participating in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. He was a young journalist for the Philadelphia Free press, member of the Black Panther Party and later a leader in the Black Student Union. He continued his call to community service and political involvement through his college days at Temple University by joining the Black Student League. This was a time when the Nation of Islam was prevalent in the Black community and Michael grew to reject those ideals, so he made a drastic decision that he would later regret. With this history of physical violence in his life and having had to physically defend himself against racist whites, Michael joined the U.S. Army infantry. His intent was to learn how to properly fight racism anywhere in the world. His plan was to fight against Apartheid in South Africa with the Freedom Fighters. Unfortunately his plan did not come to light. After being discharged from the Army, Michael (like many Vets of the time) lived through many missed opportunities, dreams and plans unrealized, and years of mental darkness. The only blessing of this time was the birth of his daughter, Sahar. However he still carried those violent tendencies and took to the world illegal activity and tempted fate often by living the gangster lifestyle. After a near death experience having had sever asthma, Michael realized how precious life was and decided to strive to be the best father possible for the sake of his daughter. He turned his career path around and decided to devote himself to preventing crime by entering the profession of Protective Services. Michael continues to be an armed guard; having earned the most coveted certification in the industry and continuously intervenes in criminal activity. He believes this is the closet was he can continue to protect and serve his community.
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