Article first published as Book Review: ‘Excuse Me,’ A Memoir by Norris Kenney Allen Sr. on Blogcritics.
My first impression of “Excuse Me” by Norris Kenney Allen Sr. was that it would be just another narrative memoir of the author. Don’t get me wrong I love memoirs, but this one is not just a memoir. In the beginning of the book the author shares a little of his background as the reader learns that his great grandfather, a slave’s son, was part of the first African Americans to experience the “reconstruction” in the Republican Congress. Mr. Allen Sr., continued sharing some of his ancestry before moving into his childhood. The reader will then discover the importance of the title of the book as he recounts how his mother saved his life.
This story is a must read for all Americans, as it doesn’t recount just one life, and it doesn’t just present historical facts. This book presents the reader testament of a history forger family. It is a beautiful tribute to so many unsung heroes in black history who through spiritual strength, strong belief, courage and persistence, forged freedom, civil rights, social equality, and a better life for their descendants. From the end of slavery in the US, through the years of segregation, to current times this story goes on, thanks to inspiring ordinary people who are extraordinary examples, and role models to our youth, regardless of race, religion, and nationality.
“Excuse Me” by Norris Kenney Allen Sr. is also a wonderful black history record, thanks to copies of important documents, pictures and illustrations which not only show Mr. Allen’s participation in history, but records milestone moments for African Americans in the US. This well written narration pulled me in and made this woman from Italian descent who grew up in South America identify with a part of history far from my own. It made me feel joy for the accomplishments and relate to the courage and persistence for a better life as I thought of my own parents, WWII survivors in Italy, and how they gave me and my siblings a better life than what they ever had.
I pray that everyone reads “Excuse Me” by Norris Kenney Allen Sr., and uses the inspiration found in it to forge their own lives and make a better world. A five-star read; a five star piece of history.