Fist Stick Knife Gun Summary

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Geoffrey Canada does an excellent job of bringing his readers to the streets of the South Bronx and making them understand the culture and code of growing up in a poor, New York City neighborhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In his book, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, Canada details, through his own childhood experiences, the progression of violence in poverty plagued neighborhoods across America over the last 50 years. From learning to be “brave” by being forced to fight his best friend on a sidewalk at six-years-old, to staring down an enraged, knife wielding, “outsider” with nothing to defend himself but nerve, Canada explains the nightmare of fear that tens of thousands of children live through every day growing up in poor neighborhoods. The book …show more content…

It also means he understands what kind of help they need to break the cycle of violence. This knowledge has helped him to develop several “Beacon Schools”. These are charter schools that educate children during the day, with the guarantee that every child will get into college. They have extended school hours and offer courses that run in the summer. After hours, the buildings are used as community centers to help adults with parenting or life skills. The buildings are used for sports or martial arts classes (Canada is a sixth degree black belt in tae kwon do and continues to teach his own classes). These schools and centers have come out of an understanding that Canada and his staff, “have realized that you cannot save children without saving families, and you cannot save families without rebuilding communities” (Canada, 2010, ch. 20 para. 3). The philosophy requires an intense commitment to the program. Typically, the instructors and staff of the schools and centers are also people who have grown up in underprivileged neighborhoods and have a genuine understanding of the needs of these children and are willing to put in the extra time it takes to prevent failure. In both his autobiography and the docudrama, Waiting for Superman (2010), Canada’s Harlem Children’s

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