Oops! I just learned that April 6th was Tartan Day 2023. I'm part Scottish, and I know that I'm descended from the Campbells of Argyll. That means any kilt in my family would be made from this blue-and-green color pattern that has a little yellow and white and black thrown in. I like it! I probably have more blues and greens in my closet than any other colors. Tartan Day is a North American celebration of Scottish heritage on the 6th of April, the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. It originated in Canada in the mid-1980s and spread to other communities of the Scottish diaspora in the 1990s. And now I know about it, too.
The Beautiful Struggle ~ by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2008, memoir, 240 pages
An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.
Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence — and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack — and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.
Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts — assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present — to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.
With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.