Today’s feature is the mystery thriller novel Lakeside University Cover Up by Charles Taylor.
illustrated book, Kwanzaa: How To Celebrate It Your Home. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.
diversity education today: www.drcharlestaylor.com.
He is currently a Professor in the School of Education at a small private
Liberal Arts College in the Midwest. Although he has written over a dozen
books, Lakeside University Cover Up is his first novel. Dr. Taylor has
also written ROARrrr-a full-length children’s musical play; Decade
of Discontent, a highly acclaimed documentary about the Milwaukee, WI
Civil Rights movement; and continues to serve as a national consultant in the
areas of diversity and inclusion
your current release.
autumn evening, the Lakeside University community was shaken to its core by a
cross burning on the front lawn of a house rented by two African American
students, Gloria Wilson and Ashante Melashe. Gloria’s trust
in fair play is shattered when campus officials call the
incident a harmless prank. However a glimmer of hope is restored as black and
white students rally to her side in a series of protests to force the
administration into conducting a full investigation. Undaunted, the administration devises a divide and conquer
scheme that creates a rift between black and white students. As the mistrust grows
the campus stands on the verge of a racial explosion. Campus
leaders, seeking a way out of the crisis turn to Dr. Wendell Oliver, the country’s leading expert in diffusing
suspects there is more to the cross burning that the administration is willing
to reveal. He also believes that the students are the key to resolving the
crisis if he can get them to work together. He takes the feuding students to a
wooded campsite off campus for a weekend retreat filled with action, danger, sexual attraction and racial conflict. One
of the pivotal moments occurs when Dr. Oliver asks everyone to pair up with
someone of a different race and spend substantial time together. He helps students look beyond themselves, stretch
their own boundaries and discover the secret behind
the cross burning. They learn that the cross burning is more than just about
racism. Its wicked flames shed light on corrupt cops, complicit college
administrators and misguided attitudes that point to a major cover up. When
students piece the puzzle together,
justice is finally served but it comes with a steep price. Lakeside University
will never be the same again.
that they can tackle our deep seated racial challenges. I’ve taken white
students and students of color on weekend retreats and watched the
transformation that takes place when students allow their true feelings to emerge. Lakeside University Cover Up provides a
framework for discussing and evaluating the response to a racially motivated
“hate crime” on a college campus. It is the “perfect teaching tool” allowing
students to analyze the role of each character and discuss how they would
handle a similar racial incident on their campus. Lakeside University Cover Up
provides a very dramatic, yet real example of what it means to build an
inclusive and socially just campus. The lessons displayed in the story can be
applied to any institution and
can serve as a catalyst for real change in campus policies and climate.
Gloria looked out a window into a deep fog, as a bright light drew closer. In
the mist she saw a silhouette of a woman nailed to a cross. She saw figures
dressed in white robes. Their taunting was shrill and harsh. She got close
enough to see the woman’s face. It was Ashante. Gloria looked again, and her
own face looked back. She felt like she was burning inside and looked down to
see flames surrounding her.
forehead with the other. “Hello?” she said, her heart pounding in her
cross was burned tonight?”
be the campus police, finally following up on the crime. “Yes!” she
said, relieved. “Who is this?”
was terrible,” the caller said. “You have to understand that’s just how they
are. It was nothing personal.”
calm; afraid the caller would hang up if she sounded too excited. “You
know who did it?” she said.
“But, that’s not why I’m calling. I just wanted you to know it’s not like
everyone on campus is racist or against black people. Some of us just get
caught up in shit and before we know it, it’s too late.”
expelled. They should be arrested.” Gloria heard the urgency in her voice
and struggled to control it.
told her. “As far as the police are concerned, this is just a big waste of
already. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I gotta go.”
to wake up Ashante. She called her name and even shook her, but received no
response other than light snoring. Then she noticed the bottle of sleeping
pills on the bedside table. She went into the kitchen for some water and drank
it slowly as she worked up the courage to look out the front window. A car
cruised by, its headlights dimmed, and she recognized the campus patrol car.
She felt reassured for a moment, but then her eyes were drawn to the circle of
scorched grass where the cross had blazed just hours before. The glow from the
streetlights revealed just enough to bring her anger rushing back.
do this? Why us?” Her questions
reminded her of Sgt. Thomas and his callous attitude.
do something to provoke them,” she whispered to the night. “We were
in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong skin color.”
house. She couldn’t shake
the feeling that someone was watching her. Despite her brave words to her
parents, she really wished she could go home. She couldn’t remember a time when
she had been so frightened. She wrapped her robe tighter and retreated to
Ashante’s room. She climbed into bed next to Ashante, shivered again, and
huddled close to her friend, trying to push her fear away long enough to fall
asleep. As the impact of the night’s event hit home, she was once again
reminded what racism was really like and how much it deeply hurt.
on a non-fiction reference directory: Guide
to Multicultural Resources. I’m also working on a film about people working
in a housing project that have created a model for reducing poverty and closing
the academic achievement gap. It’s a story of hope and accomplishment.
became an adult and published a national newspaper for college campuses
covering news by and about students and scholars of color.
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
educator. I’m a full-time college professor by date and in addition to doing a
great deal of academic writing, I love to write fiction, plays and scripts. I
just have to fit it in during the evenings and weekends.
know if it’s interesting but I have to listen to music when I write. I especially
like listening to Luther Vandross. His music moves me emotionally and that
tends to lead to better writing on my part.
when you grew up?
a lot but I always wanted to be involved in education and that’s what I’ve been
doing most of my life.
with the readers?
Never surrender your dreams. If
writing is something you seriously want to pursue, then go for it! You have to
treat it seriously, put in the time, learn your craft and continue to improve.