Book review: Officer Clemmons
Curious readers will discover inside information about “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but this deeply personal and intimate account of one man’s single-minded pursuit of a career as a performer is pure François Clemmons. Director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir and Artist in Residence at Middlebury College before his retirement, Clemmons chronicles his early childhood and family history, his education and training, the numerous obstacles, racial and otherwise, he encountered along the way, and the faith and perseverance required to bring his voice to the world. He recounts the incredible significance of meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just before the commencement address for Oberlin College and how King’s assassination “jolted [his] life like no other event before or after.” We, too, feel the betrayal when Fred Rogers, his longtime mentor, insists an openly gay man couldn’t have a major career on American television. He did indeed, have a career in television, which he used as a platform to become known as a professional singer, and to make connections that would lead to his singing with numerous opera companies and orchestras, even winning a Grammy Award. Clemmons was making, and living, history; his story is inspirational and his message is one of inclusiveness and love.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
Memoirs of More Movers & Shakers
“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle
“Educated” by Tara Westover
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama
“Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
“Inheritance” by Dani Shapiro
“The Education of an Idealist” by Samantha Power
“Recollections of My Nonexistence” by Rebecca Solnit
“The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom
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