Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life

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oe Brewster, M.D., and Michele Stephenson are the directors of the award-winning documentary "American Promise." Brewster is an attending psychiatrist at Harlem Hospital in New York and an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. He was raised in Los Angeles and studied medicine at Harvard University. Stephenson has worked as an international human rights lawyer and a film producer. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Hilary Beard is the co-author of several books, including the "New York Times" bestsellers "21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox" and "Venus & Serena: Serving from the Hip."

As seen on PBS's "POV" "An unprecedented guide to helping black boys achieve success at every stage of their lives--at home, at school, and in the world"

Regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are, all black boys must confront and surmount the "achievement gap" a divide that shows up not only in our sons' test scores, but in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, they score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point, the gap emerges. Why?

This is the question Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michele Stephenson asked when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed his experiences for their award-winning documentary "American Promise, " they met an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In "Promises Kept, "they explain

  • how to influence your son's brain "before" he's even born
  • how to tell the difference between "authoritarian" and "authoritative" discipline--and why it matters
  • how to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs
  • how to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world
  • how to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime 

Filled with innovative research, practical strategies, and the voices of parents and children who are grappling with these issues firsthand, "Promises Kept" will challenge your assumptions and inspire you to make sure your child isn't lost in the gap.


Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, and Hilary Beard
ISBN 10:
Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date:
January 14, 2014

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