The Great Depression. The South. Young Jacob's story unfolds during a difficult time, in the unforgiving south, a hard place for an African-American boy, Jacob Pete Manor, as he embarks upon his personal journey; his Rite of Passage.
Fourth and final child, born to a family of sharecroppers from the rural area of Fayetteville North Carolina, Jacob uncovers pertinent life truths that involve mother-son over-bonding, betrayal, abandonment, sexual explorations, misconceptions of “manhood,” and other crucial challenges and milestones which ultimately lead Jacob to becoming the man God destined him to be.
Jacob was a dreamer, with very high aspirations, whose ambitions exceeded the scope of what a climate of segregation, inadequate school systems, and a mind set of inferiority dictated for a young African-American male.
One Monday when Jacob arrived at work, one of the young men who worked in his department said to him, “I need to talk to you when you have time.”
Jacob replied, “I still have a few minutes before start time, we can talk while I have my coffee. Lets go down to the dressing room.”
Milton was a family man and a good employee. He was only with them a short time……..
The two men took a seat at the table, “What’s on your mind?” Jacob Asked.
Milton answered, “You know that I took my family to South Carolina for the summer. I have to go and pick them up, but I don’t have any vacation time, so I have to do it on the week end.”
Jacob Said, “Okay, so what do you need from me? Do you need money?”
Milton said, “No, I want you to go with me and help me drive. My wife doesn’t drive and that’s a lot of driving for one person.”……..
Jacob thought about Milton’s proposition during the morning shift and decided that it would be good for him……….
They both got paid on Friday and cashed their check at the bank at lunchtime…….Gas and tolls were cheap. The tank was already full of gas. Milton’s fifty dollars were more than enough for the outbound and return trip.
Jacob took the first leg down the New Jersey Turnpike and into Maryland. They stopped for coffee and a bathroom break at the Maryland House. Milton took the wheel at this point. He was a good driver and loved to drive. He made good time while Jacob took a nap. Jacob was awaken by the sound of a State Trooper’s siren in Emporia, Virginia. Milton quickly informed Jacob that his license was expired. Jacob slipped Milton his wallet that contained his license.
The trooper came to the Driver’s side, “Let me see your license and registration.”
Milton took out Jacob’s license and retrieved the registration from over the visor and handed them to the trooper. The trooper looked at them and said, “I clocked you driving eighty-five miles per hour in a thirty-five mile zone. In this state anything more than twenty miles over the speed limit is considered reckless driving. Did you know that?”
Milton answered, “No, I did not.”
The trooper said, “Follow me to the station.”………
The trooper got a little bolder now and became insulting. “This boy was driving eighty-five miles an hour in a thirty-five mile zone.”
The justice of the peace repeated the charges of careless and reckless driving and asked, “How do you plead?”
Milton who was now Jacob had no choice but to plead guilty or they would have held him in jail for court on Monday morning. The justice of the peace said, “The fine is one hundred dollars and twelve dollars court costs. Are you prepared to pay the fines?”
Milton and Jacob were both stunned. They figured maybe twenty-five or thirty dollars. They had less than one hundred dollars between the two of them and still had to get to South Carolina and back to Jersey City. Milton answered, “No, You Honor; I will have to call my uncle and have him wire me the money.”
The justice of the peace said to the trooper, “Lock him up and let him make the call.”
Milton asked, “Can I speak to my friend for a moment?”
The justice of the peace said, “Sure, go ahead.”
Milton returned Jacob’s wallet with his license and cash. He also gave Jacob what money he had and said, “Here’s the phone number for my mother’s house in Florence where my wife and kids are staying. Will you pick them up Sunday, return here and pick me up, while I wait for my uncle to wire the money?”
Jacob drove away and followed all of the rules of the road. He knew that if he broke the law, there would be two Jacobs in jail and that one or both of them would do some time. The state trooper followed him back to the main highway and out of the city limits. Things happened so fast there was no time to be afraid. When he was out of city limits, cold chills came over his entire body and he began to perspire. He pulled over and rested his head on the steering wheel and thought about what happened. God was with them and he said aloud, “Thank you, Lord.”………….
Clarence V. Matthews was born and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina — where he completed his elementary, as well as a portion of his high school education. He relocated to New Jersey in 1955 where he completed his high school curriculum and received his diploma at Dickinson High School.
Clarence was married for 31 years before becoming a widower, and is the father of five children. He worked in various capacities in the warehousing, merchandising and manufacturing industries for a span of well over 22 years. He was also licensed as a real estate sales associate for well over 30 years; and is currently employed with the Jersey City Board of Education. He is also a devoted, 50-year, active member of Monumental Baptist Church located in Jersey City, NJ. He has served on the Trustee Board and as the Black History Instructor for just over 20 years.
Clarence began his writing as the Black History Instructor, who wrote and produced black history plays for the church's annual program in celebration of Black History Month. He then transitioned his writing from screenplay to novel and developed a three-part series known as Jacob's Rite of Passage. This trilogy chronicles the life of a young man raised in the South and takes the reader through the three segments (youth, teen and adult) of the life of Jacob Pete Manor.
In March 2010, the first novel, Young Jacob was released and Clarence was introduced as a “new” author. During the promotion of this new release, a rising awareness of the plight of the family surfaced and the "GET RITE" campaign emerged, “Do the RITE Thing, Make The RITE Moves, Convey The RITE Message.” The overall theme is, "It takes a village to raise a child. It's time to reclaim the village."
The second novel of the series, Teen Jacob, was released in February 2011 and takes the reader into the teen experiences of the main character Jacob. The finale' to the trilogy, The Man Jacob, was published and released in the early spring of 2012. Though written as fiction, the real life lessons of God, family, community and manhood emerge from the pages of this storyline.
Clarence anticipates that his author entrepreneurial venture will inspire and motivate others to live out their dreams and aspirations.
The Man Jacob is the trilogy finale and concludes with our main character in his final stage of transition – manhood.
In the second volume of the trilogy, our main character becomes a teen, equipped with knowledge of worldly things.