Welcome to Fielding Books, an independent publishing company committed to stories that uplift African-American culture. We invite you to explore our literary fiction and non-fiction collection, and hope they inspire while encouraging dialogue.
Dance with my Father
Of all the horrific details exposed on the scorched and mutilated corpse that dangled from the seared and frayed rope, Cleveland’s tear-filled eyes fixed upon his father’s feet.
A soul-shaking fright consumed him when he recognized the remaining charred numbs that had been his father’s toes, and his horror was heightened by what he did not see.
The evil act that snuffed out his father’s life also robbed him of his work boots. Cleveland could not recall a time outside their home when his father was not wearing his over-worn, multi-creased, tattered-leather work boots. Granted, four-year-olds do not hold large repositories of memories, but for young Cleveland Robeson, the essence of his father was contained in his weathered boots.
Cleveland and his twin, Columbus, would tug and pull at those boots when helping their dad after an arduous day in the pecan grove. For the twins, pulling off their dad’s boots earned them an affectionate head rub from their father’s ruggedly calloused hands. Willie Robeson was a man of few words. His entire life was spent on three different sharecropping plantations in Baker County. Among the other pecan-pickers, he was the sole reader. His reading of outdated copies of the Baltimore Afro-American and other Negro newspapers to his fellow sharecroppers roused the ire of the locals. Negro newspapers were contraband, and reading them was akin to a felony.
Compared to What
That was the headline of the Detroit newspaper. Beneath the caption were two large color photos. The photo on the left was of Richard Gilliam, the Chief Financial Officer of A New Way Charter Schools, and the one on the right, was of Elaine Robeson, Principal of Ella Baker Academy.
Both were charged with misappropriating funds. Mr. Gilliam’s responsibility over the finances of all five A New Way Charter Schools provided ample opportunity for his swindling of over a million dollars in a three year span for personal use. Three years of Red Wings season ticket seats just behind the glass partition, a recently purchased, fully-furnished home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and other smaller trappings – a Rolex and a new red Lincoln Navigator – were evidence of Richard’s clandestine accounting practices. While he vowed to fight the charges in court, Mr. Gilliam’s attorney’s highest optimism lay in a gray area of hope between a plea bargain or some type of protracted restitution plan that would keep Richard out of prison.
The case against Principal Robeson was an entirely different matter.
In a two year span, Principal Robeson intentionally redirected nearly four hundred thousand dollars from technology related purchases toward hiring an additional teacher and sponsoring a catered weekend breakfast and tutorial program for the families of her impoverished students. Principal Robeson did not profit from her activity; yet in the court of public opinion, she was being vilified as Richard’s co-conspirator or worse, his puppet.
In the News!
Sabin Prentis promotes his novel, Better Left Unsaid, on WDIV Channel 4 Detroit.