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You never knew what you didn’t have.

There were times in your childhood when cereal was supper because there was nothing else. When birthday toys seemed gently pre-loved, hand-me-downs were new to you, and you were none the wiser. Your family didn’t have much and you never realized it then but in the book “The Education of Kevin Powell” by Kevin Powell, getting schooled later was rough.

Born in the spring of 1966, Kevin Powell entered the world and, though his mother had moved to Jersey City from “Down South” to escape it, slid directly into poverty. They shared a rat-and-roach-infested apartment with Powell’s aunt and her son, and their us-against-the-world closeness was “something safe, something magical…”

At age four, Powell “did not know what the word ‘drunk’ meant,” but he learned at a party, and was beaten by his mother for getting drunk-sick. At age six, his grandfather died, but although Powell barely knew the man, he understood that he was a wife-beater. At 13, he impulsively joined a fight and lost his cousin, who angrily shunned Powell for the rest of their lives.

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