Minorities Deceived: The Sherman Turner Story Part I
Sherman L. Turner
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (5/11)
“Every time I went to a new town or village (in Buffalo, NY) on a contracting job, I had to take the Master Plumber test again; each location in the suburbs had its own test for licensing before someone could work in the community. In one town, when I asked the chief plumbing inspector for the application to take the town’s Master Plumber test, he said, ‘You must be that guy (the first black Master Plumber in Buffalo) Sherman Turner.’ Then he told me no, I couldn’t take the test, adding, ‘Not as long as I’m living…now get the hell out of my town!’”
That experience is a common pattern that runs throughout “Minorities Deceived” by Sherman L. Turner, a former SBA 8/a minority contractor. In Turner’s case, the discrimination and roadblocks experienced by all minorities in the 90s job market were made even worse by the realities facing a small minority contractor caught in a partnership with a deceitful, larger, moneyed, white-controlled contractor and the dysfunctional staff members of the SBA (Small Business Administration). The result was disgraceful treatment of both Turner and his minority business.
Sherman Turner’s life story is not unlike others told by Black Americans who grew up in the north in the 1950s and 60s. The daily struggles with entrenched discrimination proved too overwhelming for many young black men. Turner, however, persevered, and even managed to thrive for a time. But health and related personal problems in his marriage, both exacerbated by the pressures of his minority business, would set him back to a point he could have never imagined. But, that is another story, and he tells it in “Kenya: Rehabilitation: The Sherman Turner Story Part II.”
“Minorities Deceived” is told in simple language, and with genuine emotion, by an intelligent human being who is very real and very proud of what his life is. He does not dwell on what it might have been.
Sherman Turner has experienced an array of life lessons and taken away something positive from each of them. We are lucky Mr. Turner has shared his story with us in “Minorities Deceived: The Sherman Turner Story Part I.”