About the Author
Wilson Edward Reed, PhD was born on a family farm in 1950s Mississippi during the height of Jim Crow segregation. As an African American, he lived under the twenty-two laws that restricted miscegenation (racial mixing) and prevented African Americans from participating as full citizens – for over seventy-five years.
Dr. Reed learned at an early age that he must obey Jim Crow or face punishment. He attended a segregated school, church, movie theater, and public library, and was able to maintain his dignity by working hard in school and taking small jobs, including picking cotton. After attending Rosa A. Temple High School and Utica Junior College, Wilson Reed moved to Seattle and earned both BA and MA degrees at the University of Washington.
Years later, he earned an MA at Suny Albany and finally capped of his academic achievements with a PhD at Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona. He taught at over five institutions, including the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Seattle University, Northern Arizona University, and Texas Christian University, over his professional career.
Today, Dr. Reed lives outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. His book, The Politics of Community Policing is still in print. This, his newest release, JuneBug, is a fictionalized account of growing up Black in the South during the 1950’s and ’60’s under Jim Crow.
He is still known affectionately to family and friends from Mississippi as JuneBug. Most of the story is true, and most of the characters are based on real people. Like JuneBug, Dr. Reed was born on a family-owned farm. He worked in the field picking cotton and pulling corn at an early age. The Jim Crow laws did curtail the boundaries of his and his family’s life in rural Mississippi. Although he found limited opportunities in the South, he blossomed in Seattle. After the bus trip west, the family and community support gave him the confidence and security to grow.
The Sankofa bird is an important symbol of African culture. It signifies the importance of understanding the past in order to move forward. Dr. Reed never forgot his humble beginnings. Throughout his career he worked to highlight the problems that divide communities and taught students to bridge those divisions with compassion and understanding.
My Journey in Writing
I grew up appreciating the power of a good story, and always enjoyed connecting with family and friends through story telling. It wasn’t until I started my career as a college student that I began organizing my stories and thoughts into print, culminating in my dissertation which became the book, The Politics of Community Policing.
The inspiration for JuneBug began one day after a speaking engagement in Minnesota at St. John’s University and St. Benedict College. My good friend from the doctoral program at Northern Arizona University, Dr. Matt Lindstrom, had invited me to come and lecture. Afterwards, during the question-and-answer session, the students had so many questions about my personal history, my cultural heritage, and how I escaped Mississippi, I realized that JuneBug was a story I needed to write. When I was isolated during the pandemic, there were no more excuses and I got busy working every day reflecting, remembering, organizing my thoughts and writing my story.
JuneBug’s Journey: How He Earned Four Degrees After Attending Poorly Funded School in Rural Mississippi.
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