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Brother of the Struggle


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Jason Goudlock first experienced incarceration before he turned 18. In February of 1993 he was released from Cuyahoga Hills Boys School after serving six months for possession of drugs and stealing a car. He moved to a one-room YMCA apartment on the west side of Cleveland and began training in the hope of trying out for the Cleveland State University basketball team. But soon he stopped training and began to get in trouble. He joined two friends in a car while they drove around the east side looking for someone to rob. One of Goudlock's friends carried a .38 pistol, and the first man they threatened with it had an empty wallet. Later that night, they tried to rob a man with a car, and he ran away from them. Goudlock jumped behind the wheel of the man's car without closing the door and got stuck between an apartment building and a wooden post when he tried to back out of a driveway. The three of them were arrested as they drove their own car to a nearby store. They were not skilled criminals. Desperate to find enough money to hire a lawyer who could get him out of what he soon understood to be very deep trouble, Goudlock started selling crack cocaine once he was out on bail. When he was robbed by one of his co-defendants, Goudlock retaliated by shooting him in the leg. His co-defendant pressed charges against him, and while Goudlock was on the run, he tried to rob a man who did drugs with his mother. This man grabbed Goudlock's 9mm pistol, and the gun discharged, grazing the man's neck. The next day Goudlock was arrested when a man to whom he sold crack demanded a refund, and Goudlock refused. He was charged with several crimes. In prison, Goudlock continued to get in trouble, but his mental life must have been more complex than it appeared because he soon began wide reading. One of the first things he read was THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1881), and Douglass's account of his escape from slavery and his work for abolition moved Goudlock to begin writing his own story. When 200 pages of his autobiography were stolen, he gave up on writing and devoted himself to arguing and fighting with other prisoners. In 2005 he was placed in isolation in Ohio's "supermax," and he decided to write a novel based on his experience growing up in Cleveland and living in prison. Despite interruptions and crushing disappointments when he was denied parole, Goudlock pushed on with BROTHER OF THE STRUGGLE, and in 2012 he completed a draft.

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