Manassas Teacher Authors Book "Tired of Being Black"

Manassas teacher weighs in on the struggles facing blacks today.

His mother put him out of the house at age 12. He had a straight flush of grade level failures in middle school and his social studies teacher was sure he had a one-way ticket to the nearest prison.

This is the story of Rodney Jordan’s childhood years in Virginia.

Jordan, a boy who once seemed destined for a life of failure and broken dreams is now teaching at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas. 

He recently authored and self published a book titled, “Tired of Being Black” in which he tells of his experiences as a black boy and man.

“I just wanted a title that would stick out,” Jordan said of his choice of title.

" I’ve had people who initially said, ‘You wanna be, white?' Or, ‘What’s wrong with being black?’ or ‘What do you mean you are tired of being black?’”

If you read the book, you’ll see where I'm coming from, Jordan says.

He loves being black and says he’s insanely proud of his roots, despite the early struggles he endured.

“I felt no one cared,” he said.

As a child, he lived in a two bedroom, one bathroom duplex with 12 to 16 other people.

The entire space was smaller than his current classroom at Mayfield, he said.

The water only stayed hot for 10 minutes, so he was forced to wash with cold water, Jordan said.

“It just seemed like I always got the worst of everything,” he said. “Every little thing I did, I caught the belt. (Me and my mother) always had a bitter relationship.”

He remembers trying to find spare space on the coffee table where he could kneel and do his homework, Jordan said.

He said he loved school up until the third grade, but then he stopped caring.

He eventually failed sixth, seventh and eighth grades and was only able to advance because his father paid for him to go to summer school three times, Jordan said. 

Things started to change in 10th grade, the year he met a U.S. History teacher who took a personal interest in him, Jordan said.

“I feel like he was put there, just for me,” he said. “This man, he didn’t cut me any slack; no excuse was good enough for him. I was determined I was going to show him I really wasn’t dumb. I ended up finishing his class with an ‘A.’”

After that point he never got in trouble in school again. He later graduated from Norfolk State University and eventually made his way to Weems Elementary in Manassas where he won the Outstanding Teacher Award two years in a row, Jenkins said.

Recently his father and brother told him they ran into an old friend of his from school and an old social studies teacher, both of whom said they thought he was certainly imprisoned.

“He said he was looking for me when he went to jail because he thought for sure I would be there,”  Jordan said of the old friend. “My brother said to him, ‘He’s a school teacher and he just wrote a book.’ And the guy looked at him and said, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure we are talking about the same Rodney Jordan? Because I thought for sure he was going to jail.'”

In his book, which was published in September,Jordan said he strives to tell young people of all races that living in a home with an absent fathe doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. At the same time, living in a half million dollar home doesn’t mean you will be successful, he added.

He wants to put an end to excuses made by young people of any race, he said.

As for blacks today, he feels that many people have gotten away from the things fought for during the civil rights movement, Jordan said.

“So many of our ancestors fought for us to have the right to go to school, now they have to fight to get us to go to school," he said.

In his book, he also discusses affirmative action, the use of the “N” word (the derogatory term for blacks) and other issues of importance in the world, Jordan said.

The book is published by Universe Inc. of Bloomington IN, but he’s hoping for publication by a traditional publisher one day.

Leon Bynum February 28, 2013 at 04:00 PM
This is a brave piece of literature, thanks for answering the call!
David Freeman February 28, 2013 at 04:30 PM
David Freeman I am so proud of you as you set a wonderful role model example. I plan to read the book over spring break.
Nancy J. Emanuel February 28, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Congratulations on your determination and bravery and for setting a powerful example for the children and adults of this community!
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I think it's on Amazon but I will ask Rodney.
Marie Pavlovsky February 28, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Such an inspiration. Love this story and look forward to reading the book.
Kitty Wade February 28, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I am a former teacher and loved this story. All too often we forget our roots. I hope that you have thanked the teacher that was your inspiration.
Liletta Thompson February 28, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Wow this sounds awesome! I can't wait to read!
Rodney Jordan February 28, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Hello everyone! Thank you all for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article and a part of my story. "Tired of Being Black" can be purchased through any book retailer including Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. It is available in soft cover and e-book. I also have a Facebook page for my book. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. I will be more than happy to attend speaking engagements, book clubs, and much more. I will be doing a book signing soon, so please keep an eye out. Thank you so much for your support and I look forward to reading your reviews.
TLN it Str8 March 01, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think! Rodney Jordan
Rachel March 01, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Much success, Rodney! We miss you at Weems!
Lisa March 01, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Wonderful book! So proud of you! I will be sure to attend the next book signing as well.
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:42 AM
It was great meeting you too Cindy! I look forward to our March meeting! I am in the process of scheduling a book signing in Manassas soon. A copy of "Tired of Being Black" can be purchased through any book retailer including Barnes and Nobles and Amazon! It is available in soft cover and e-book. I'm hoping to have it in Echoes, the Manassas Muse, and Prospero's in the near future! I look forward to talking to you soon!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Hi Suzanne, I love your excitement! You can buy it through any book retailer, including Barnes and Nobles and Amazon! I self-published it through iUniverse, which has it available as well.
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:44 AM
I will always remember Ms. Burnett! Thank you for everything! I hope you have read my book or read it! I know we will have great discussions about it!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Hi Jill, Thank you so much! You can get a copy a copy through any book retailer including Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. My publisher, iUniverse, has it for sale also. I'm glad you like the title; I was aiming for an attention getter to help me promote my message. Let me know what you think! I'm sure I will see or talk to you soon!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Thanks Leon! It was definitely a risk worth taking. I want to see more young people become successful, instead of traveling the wrong path. Therefore, I figured I would point out things I think keep us all from reaching our goals. We'll see what happens!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Thanks Mr. Freeman! I try my best, but it's going to take a lot more than just me or a book to get our young people on the right path. However, I believe it is possible. I look forward to hearing from you after Spring Break!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Hi Nancy, Thank you so much! I have only overcome obstacles in life because of brave and determined people in my own environment. I enjoy working in the city of Manassas and hope I can be that same inspiration for our youth!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Thanks Marie! I hope you enjoy my book! Please feel free to share your comments with me. I have been blessed to overcome hardships and want to see others do the same!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Hello Kitty! Thanks for everything you have done for our education profession. I'm glad you loved my story. I will never forget where I came from or the people who helped me along the way. My heart's desire has been to thank my tenth grade History teacher for saving my life, but he retired at the end of the school year when I was in his class. I have only seen him one time since then. I was very excited when I saw his face, but he tilted his hat at me, smiled, and continued walking. I am convinced that man was an angel, sent just to rescue me from my issues.
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Liletta, Thank you very much and I hope you find my work to be awesome! I want my story and my work to be an inspiration to as many people as possible. I am interested to hear your thoughts about my book. Take Care!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Thanks Rachel, I miss you all too!
Rodney Jordan March 01, 2013 at 01:56 PM
I am so pleased you enjoyed it! Look for information, soon, about my next book signing!
christopher Diaz May 01, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Wow Mr.Jordan Remember Me I Was One Of Your Students Christopher Diaz
Rodney Jordan May 01, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Of course, I remember you Chris! How are you doing? Have you read my book and liked it on Facebook?
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) May 01, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Hey Rodney! I meant to tell you I was in Prospero's books in Old Town and the manager was telling me he read this story and would try to get you in for a book signing at some point :D the word is out!
christopher Diaz May 02, 2013 at 12:41 AM
I'm Doing Good Mr Jordan How About You ? No I Haven't Read It But I Want To Where Can I Find The Book ? Where On Facebook ?
Rodney Jordan May 03, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Hi Jamie, That is awesome news! Thank you so much! I'll keep you posted.
Rodney Jordan May 03, 2013 at 01:42 AM
That's great Chris! I'm doing well also. You can get my book through any bookstore. I have a Facebook page for it, but you can't read it on the site.


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