Tentative title above, can be retitled by the Author later on as needed. Ghostwriting clients need apply!!!
GWI’s ghostwriting clients often give us written permission to run excerpts from their work. This is included in the signed and electronically filed contract, each time such permission is given.
Used with signed contractual permission to run an excerpt from the GWI Author Client. He is among our ghostwriting clients who battle racism.
(NOTE to author client: Five to six-page book outline. 1.5-line spacing for now, makes it easier for you to review and correct. As it doesn’t cover the second half of the material, about your struggles against American racism, I can tighten up the overall outline once I get the rest of the info from you. Francis, tell me about the difficulties you suffered in the US. I’ll get it down eventually to a total five-page book outline.
Let me know what you think about the contents of this half outline so far – tell me in great detail about anything I got wrong, and make any corrections into this Word document. Then send it back via email attachment. It does help to use red highlights, and leave the original rewriting that I typed alone, with no strikethroughs – just type in all your corrections underneath my original rewriting work. Also type in any questions or clarifications as you think of them. Thanks, hope I hear back from you soon!)
By Francis M., one of our ghostwriting clients – as told to Karen Cole
My incredible story opens with a white American helicopter pilot. He worked outside the diamond mines in my home country – Sierra Leone. The NDMC, or the National Diamond Mining Company, was this huge conglomerate formed in the early 1920s, involving the De Beers SLST for some 99 years, lasting until the early 1980s. Mainly, the NDMC dealt with that shining natural wonder called the white diamond, heart of all rare gemstones, and several other valuable minerals. These may have included rutile, bauxite, gold, iron and limonite.
Due to the great amounts of profit wrenched from the earth, nearby Lebanon became entangled with us. Traders within Sierra Leone soon found that smuggling diamonds brought easy profits; illicit mining and illegal trading ran rampant throughout my simple, home-spun country…where I first discovered white, glowing tiny stones gleaming under my bare, mud-encrusted boy’s feet, where a violent nine-year-long civil war starting in 1991 strove to overthrow an ill-led, corrupt national government.
Sierra Leone, small poverty-stricken nation of West Africa, regularly sent blacks like me into its employment of near slavery and ruthless Western exploitation. But diamonds are nonetheless a major point of this story; also the wonderful, unpredictable kindness showed to me by one lone white man whom I can never forget. He is the abiding reason for this book: Thomas Johnson, or “Captain Johnson” to the starving boy that I was.
“Who was this man? He turned out to be the White Man who Gave me a Chance!”
At about age 14, I was “dropped out” of school in Sierra Leone. My mother and two sisters could no longer afford to pay for my secondary education, so I was sent away to live with a relative in a diamond mining camp. Here, I maintained my brief existence by selling cheap oranges, mostly to local white people. I had to wonder how long this could continue. Poorly dressed in rags, coated in mud, sweat and what little dignity I daily scraped together, I was barely able to comprehend my ongoing situation.
Would I always live thus, unable to get ahead, a skinny black rat handing oranges to people? Running out of time, health, even food? Drinks weren’t easy to find, especially clean running water…every day was the same as the next…collecting cash for a few pieces of fruit…while the pesky flies swarmed my aching head, and my treasured abilities to read and write faded away into the dust.
On one exceedingly hot, dry day, listlessly selling my dried-up fruit, I sat on the filthy hard ground at the entrance door of a predominantly white gentlemen’s club. Naked back turned to a merciless wall, I hoarsely pitched the scarcely edible oranges, wearing old, dirty pants ripped open on each side. This harsh life could never improve, so slowly I gave in to a bottomless, lingering malaise. Tears traced sickly trails down my face as wretched sobs racked my bony, wasted body; this was Hell, and I was sure to face Death soon.
“What will happen to me? I’m gonna die in this place, with no family and nobody to care…my body is fading, things growing dark…”
Out of nowhere, a tall, slender white man stepped lightly out of the club – glancing at me – and continued walking. My heart plummeted to the soles of my feet; this meant one less sale of a juiceless, hardening in the sun piece of aging fruit. Why did God hate me? Well, the man merely strolled forward a few yards, then abruptly stopped. To this day, I see him standing there stock still, as if something had called his attention over to me.
Spinning around, he calmly but immediately walked back to the club. Pausing to hover over my startled, bony body as I hid my panting face in the overbearing heat, he asked me how much it cost per orange. He bought quite a few…I was making a major sale! My relative would be so pleased, smiling on lonely me for a change. The man thoughtfully stood there for a few seconds, and then asked me point-blank: why are you not in school? Dear God, somebody well-off cared about me! Choking on the dust, keeping it to myself, I told him I dropped out due to my family being unable to afford the costs. I showed him normal African pride, but my heart was soaring: is this a way out of this horrible situation?
Looking like someone noble had plunged from the skies, this handsome, older white man listened patiently to me. I related my tale of extreme poverty, and as I continued to explain my situation, he tilted his head downward – maintaining a level eye contact with me. So tall next to my boy self, this white gentleman nodded sagely, a sophisticated worldly adult. Wagging one manicured finger, he ordered me gently to await his return. My heart beat loudly in my throat as he once again entered the club. After a while, he returned with two others, a white male and a white female. What would this mean – was I to be an odd sport for strangers?
“Hey,” a voice called out. “Who is that black boy over there? He looks like he’s hurting badly.”
No, this was getting better all the time! Maybe they weren’t making fun, maybe they wanted more than just my oranges! But the other man, looking cagey, made my soul sink, frowning upon me – telling me to speak the truth. He muttered that his friend wanted to help me return to school, implying it was all my fault somehow that I was there hawking oranges. Gathering up a proud black boy’s courage, withering away in the steady heat, I repeated to the small group of three white people that I had dropped out of school solely because my mother and sisters could no longer afford to pay the school fees.
Then the initial white man introduced himself. His name was Thomas J., and he said to come meet him at the airport tomorrow, sometime in the afternoon. Showing up on time the next day, anxious to begin a working new life, as I attempted to walk through the gate I was arrested…supposedly for intruding. My small head hung low; this was yet another political trick, as I had heard before, by the angry authorities. But when Captain J. peered through the pilot lounge’s window, he saw me detained by security, emerging to wave his hands at the other airport personnel in order to let me go.
AMERICA: “A country supposedly dedicated to racism’s eradication and the human rights of every citizen.”
Walking swiftly now, he met me halfway in the middle of the hangar. He shook my skinny hands fervently, taking me over to the pilot’s lounge. This was smashing! I was finally away from my formerly beloved village life. Things may well work out, I mused to myself. In minutes, I had met all the pilots my Captain knew: Captain M. of Australia, Captain B. from Austria, and Engineers Dennis E. and Roland S.
Captain J. introduced me by stating that I was his newfound young friend, whom he was volunteering to sponsor for my education back to school. The Captain changed my life overnight! This was no ordinary event; away from death I was bound to succeed, to live somewhere else that made sense! At the tender age of 14, I was dead right; the Captain paid for my secondary school in Africa, and then brought me to America. In fact, he later informally adopted me. I had a new Dad, though he was white and I was black; after his contract with Autair International ended and he left Sierra Leone, he took me along with him. Absorbed like a hopeful new sponge into his immediate family, I resided with them in the same household, never in any separate quarters; they all treated me with full respect and dignity.
Captain J. turned out to be a highly busy pilot, working for several companies and doing lots of important activities: Viking Helicopters in Ottawa; working with WHO, the World Health Organization via the United Nations; spraying rivers in West Africa to prevent river blindness from black fly populations; Autair International of Luton, England; crop dusting in Great Britain and Switzerland; Evergreen Helicopters – Chevron – oil exploration in South Sudan; Corporate jets – DEA / US Dept. of State – drug eradication operations in Peru and Columbia; Mayo Helicopters – the Yukon Territory, Canada.
“My new Friend Forever was a Hero, a Veteran who’d Risked his Life!”
Thomas J., Esq. was also a decorated hero in the Vietnam War. When another helicopter was downed by the enemy, my Captain flew his chopper to search for survivors, while under intense anti-aircraft fire. His effective location of insurgent emplacements enabled the enemy to be routed, successfully completing their American mission. Well-deserved, he received a Distinguished Flying Cross from the US Army. In those days, there was a tendency to throw one’s medals away, due to the nature of the war; but I think he was vastly proud of the special award for his heroic flying services. Never boasted about it much, though!
Captain J. was American. Where his family came from originally I do not know, possibly Germany, as he was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He later became chief helicopter pilot for the diamond mine system of Sierra Leone. There, he provided security and transported many secured silver boxes, containing gemstone and alluvial diamonds, by helicopter from Yengema to Freetown – where a British Airways jet waited on the tarmac to fly the diamonds to London, England. He was an honorable worker for the people in charge of things.
Meanwhile, I, Francis M., came from a poor, homespun tribal village resting atop a pile of underground gem and aboveground alluvial diamonds. The latter are small, twinkling rocks removed from their primary source, kimberlite, by natural erosive activity over millions of years. Eventually they get deposited somewhere, such as a riverbed, the ocean floor or a shoreline; that is where I first stumbled across them, along our sandy pathways. These glittering stones are usually recovered from the depths of loose sand, gravel and clay. Not like the gemstone-quality diamonds, which are typically mined through grindingly slave-like labor, almost throughout the whole civilized world.
“De Beers Group and other White European Diamond Kings ruled our Universe. I knew so little as a boy about such things.”
In those days when it poured heavily with rain, running top soil washed away the coverage, silt and dirt until the hot sun shone brightly down, illuminating our world. In the bright light, you noticed the ground glowing with pretty white stones, shimmering like hundreds of stars. My people had no idea of their value; they could not tell yet that these stones were expensive diamonds. In fact, for years our entire village believed that actual stars were falling onto the ground from the sky. Can you imagine that?
Well, so that you will understand, my people were altogether instructed by our colonial masters not to touch the beautiful bright stones on the ground. We were instructed to draw a circle around the shiniest of the rocks, immediately reporting this to our colonial masters. They extracted these diamonds at their leisure, leaving us to wonder why such pebbles were of more value than human lives, blood, freedom, or even access to our rightful homes.
Many of our people were slaughtered, enslaved, disenfranchised over these shining stones, so translucent, clear and clean, while Sierra Leone suffered the most awful of social and economic costs. The civil war of 1991-1999 and the fight over diamond control held sway over us; under cover of warfare, the rebels committed hideous crimes against humanity: murder, rape, humiliation and mutilation. The war claimed over 75,000 lives, causing 500,000 people to become refugees, displacing much of our country’s 4.5 million population.
But as you know, change happens…as the only human constant. Our ghostwriting clients are aware of that.
Also during this period, our economy was cheated out of millions of dollars in the form of illegal diamonds, due to the ineptitude of our perilously corrupt government, while the rape of girls and women spread out systemically during the conflicts of the 1990s. It’s said to be continuing on a smaller scale nowadays, in regions controlled by rebels in the north and east areas of my former country. Happily, I was rescued from similar barbaric acts by lucky fate, my desire to achieve ultimate success…and the circumstances of my own personal growth. Mainly, though, by Captain Thomas J., to whom I probably owe my life.
Through my well-appointed white informal “father,” I lived in a wide variety of countries in both Europe and Africa. I traveled through the Sahara Desert, from Mali to Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Greece, France, England – and finally, to the United States. I spent a few years each in some of these countries, like in Greece, where I worked on a farm picking olives and apricots. I frequented monument sites like the Acropolis, the Pantheon, and the Theatre at Epidaurus, plus Nafplio and Delphi. In Sicily, I hit Messina, Catania, Roma, Turino and Palermo – where my dear Captain secured me a visa to go to the United States.
Captain J. soon brought me to America, paying to complete my formal education in Massachusetts. Through the many long years (swiftly as they flew by) that I resided with the austere, honest Captain and his elegant, graciously open family, I never experienced any racial discrimination whatsoever. And I hadn’t exactly experienced racism before I met them, oddly enough. I know this is hard to believe, but the discrimination I experienced in Sierra Leone was more politically based than racial, when you understand the overall situation – many blacks as well as whites also murdered and humiliated our people, for example.
“I was sadly mistaken. AMERICAN Racism swiftly reared its ugly head at me!”
Anyway, apparently I had been leading a nearly racism-free existence in West Africa, apart from the greater political circumstances where I was poverty-stricken; then one day in the US, I began working for the State of Wisconsin, Dept. of Corrections, as a Probation and Parole Agent. I thought this would be a great job for me.
Shortly, I discovered systematic persecution, witless idiocy and rabid racism for no good reason, without a profit motive or any true political purposes involved – racism for its own sake alone – in of all places, America! Racism, whose obscene presence brought no justification to me, other than the act of keeping me from a better, more productive life.
After what I have gone through, entailing a long series of ridiculously unjust legal and illegal events, I am now sharing my nonfiction story of American racism. I sincerely hope, dear readers, you will deeply benefit from my newly published book: The White Man who Gave Me a Chance. Together, potentially, YES WE CAN combat racism in America!!!