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Authors Honor Black Men as Engaged and Loving Fathers

For entrepreneur William K. Middlebrooks, the only difference between living an ordinary life and an extraordinary one is your willingness to do the extra in everything that you do.

It’s a lesson Middlebrooks says his father instilled in him growing up, and one that served as a source of inspiration for a compilation of wisdom he and marketing executive Leslie M. Gordon recently released on the role of fathers in the African-American community.

Part chapter-memoir, part call-to-action and part inspiration, the book, “Dare To Be Extraordinary: A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers,” recognizes and honors the wisdom and teachings of African-American fathers passed down to sons and daughters, one summary reads.

Among them: Cultural icon and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, NBA veteran Allan Houston, ABC News broadcaster Robin Roberts and the authors themselves, who sat down with The Huffington Post to discuss their mission to portray black fathers in a more positive light.

Given all of the negative notions around black men and fatherhood, how did this counter-narrative come about?

Bill: About two years ago I came to Leslie and said, “Hey, I’ve got this idea. I want to write a book that does a couple things.” One, it honors and recognizes those African-American men that have stepped up and assumed the responsibilities of fatherhood. Second, I wanted to have a book that educated and reinforced, not only within the African-American community, but the greater community, that African-Americans can, have been and continue to be engaged and loving fathers. Third, we wanted to inspire more African-American men to engage in the lives of their children. We wanted to offer a potential roadmap for fathers and parents from men who have raised extraordinary sons and daughters. And finally, we wanted to do something that was going to begin a new positive conversation about the role of fathers, particularly African-American fathers. We had to do something that gets us to our larger goal, which is to… bend the curve.

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