Reviewing ‘The Black Knight’—’a memoir of deep integrity … and wisdom’

Former President George H.W. Bush’s casket on the Capitol steps.

“For too many, all of life is divided into spans of time that would have us either rush by or stand still. Reality, however, keeps step with time’s steady cadence. The flow of time produces pleasure, pain, and indifference. Do not become mired in any of these; instead, ride the crest of life’s fullness found in the lessons of each.”
Clifford Worthy

The Black Knight:
An African-American Family’s Journey from West Point—
A Life of Duty, Honor and Country
Clifford Worthy, Author.
Available from Amazon in Paperback and Hardcover and Kindle—and from Barnes & Noble in Paperback and Hardcover and Nook.

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Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

BOOK REVIEW By BENJAMIN PRATT
Contributing Columnist

Ready! Step!
Ready! Step!

Our nation watched in solemn silence last month as a military honor guard carried President George H. W. Bush’s casket up the Capitol steps. In the background the Marine Corps Band played Fairest Lord Jesus and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. The cadence set by the commanding officer was haunting, riveting and directive.

Time and again, as I read The Black Knight I was reminded of the command.

Ready! Step!

Clifford Worthy was ready and he stepped into the future, often feeling led by God. Worthy had the courage to step forward into the struggles on which faith and commitment are built. “Ultimately, this book is about daring to walk through doors and face whatever we find there,” says Clifford.

In 1948, President Harry Truman signed his historic order to integrate our Armed Forces. In 1949, Clifford Worthy, the great grandson of slaves, was one of four African-American men to be accepted, then to excel as a Black Knight of the Hudson, the nickname for West Point cadets.

This is a memoir of deep integrity, revealing honesty, and wisdom. From the mid 1960s until early 1970s, I was the founding pastor of a new congregation located between Ft. Belvoir and Quantico in Virginia. Many military families from those bases and the Pentagon were members of our church. Racial turbulence and the stresses of war were endured by nearly every family of our community. In the next phase of my career, 30 years as a pastoral counselor on Capitol Hill and in Northern Virginia, I continued to have close contact with military families who experienced the stresses of deployments and life-threatening duties.

In addition to the typical stresses on a military family, Clifford and Lillian faced the challenges of rearing a special-needs son. The day they received his diagnosis was followed by their deployment to Germany. Clifford wrote to Lillian, “Reality, however, keeps step with time’s steady cadence.”

Clifford Worthy reveals the ways racism impacted his family’s life and also introduces us to the numerous people who welcomed and embraced them without thought of race. He shares the primacy of family and friends throughout his career. He describes vividly the horrors he saw in Vietnam but also the compassion of many service personnel who cared for the native people there.

When did you last open and read a book by a 90 year old man?

Ready! Step!

You’ll be glad you stepped into this story of a family who served this nation with Duty, Honor and Faith!

Ready! Step!

Care to read more?

The Black Knight is available from Amazon in Paperback and Hardcover and Kindle—and from Barnes & Noble in Paperback and Hardcover and Nook.

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