Hi, my name is Jesse A. Mayfield and I'm an actor, singer, writer and teacher. I've appeared on Broadway, on the Lincoln Center stage and at the Kennedy Center and in many concert venues around the world. As the former Artistic Director of the famed "Paul Robeson Theater" in New York, I produced and starred in many notable productions, among them, "A Raisin in the Sun," "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men" and "Of Mice and Men." I've spent much of the last decade touring in various stage productions. Always a New Yorker at heart, I presently reside in Los Angeles where I teach acting. I recently launched Greedy Reedy Productions to develop projects for television and film and my company, Lamarr Talent & Literary Management represents and guides the careers of young, aspiring entertainment professionals.
My touching memoir titled "Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye...a coming of age story," chronicles my early years growing up in Brooklyn, New York during the Civil Rights era. It tells of me being one of the first African-Americans bused to a White school when New York City started busing for school integration. My years in predominately White, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn were both character building and life changing and laid the foundation for my becoming the man I am today. This story is told through the eyes of a precocious and intelligent little boy and it's told with humor and love.
It is my sincerest hope that while reading this book you will get a strong sense of the love I had for my family, my community and the new world of friendships that embraced me. Being "away from my mother's watchful eye" offered me a new-found freedom but it also demanded that I grow up quickly, keep my wits about me and utilize everything I'd ever learned. This is a "nostalgic" and "feel good" story that will take you on a journey through a crazy time in our nation's history and make you laugh, cry, think and then laugh some more.
"Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye...a coming of age story" is a memoir that tells about the author, Jesse A. Mayfield, growing up in Brooklyn, New York during the turbulent, dangerous and racially charged 1960s. When the New York City Board of Education implemented busing to further integrate New York public schools, Jesse was one of the first African-Americans bused from the inner-city to a White school in lily-White Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in the Fall of 1965. Since all young Blacks were expected to be militant and "down with the revolution," Jesse was viewed as being a "traitor," "Uncle Tom" and "house nigger" for going to school with "Whitey." Surprisingly, he found peace, friendship and acceptance in the most unlikely of places; the White community he'd been warned to view with fear and distrust.
This entertaining, uplifting and inspiring story will take you on a magical and nostalgic journey to an exciting time gone by and you'll relive history as you revisit President Kennedy's election and assassination, the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Vietnam War and the healing effects of the Beatles' music on a post-assassination America.
Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye is a not the usual unfortunate and sad story about busing that we've all heard but instead, it's an inspiring story of one boys journey as he navigates between two distinct worlds forging friendships, excelling and forming a unique perception of the world. As one reviewer so aptly put it, "Away From My Mother's Watchful Eye is the epitome of all coming of age stories."