In March of 1948, Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers came to Mobile, Alabama for an exhibition game. While the city’s black population was thrilled to see the man who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Robinson’s brief appearance did more for one man than fuel his excitement for the game.
Thirty-year-old Jesse Norwood had no baseball experience, but, through the game, he saw a way to help the scrawny youngsters that would congregate near his stoop gain a sense of pride and dignity in the segregated South of the 1950’s.
A Condition of Freedom is the emotionally charged story of Norwood’s legend and legacy. With a novelist’s gift for storytelling, Formichella breathes life into a South long gone to tell a hero’s story that begins in a sandlot and ends in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“There are deep, social, philosophical reasons to love Joe Formichella’s story of the Mohawks, and of a place where the very sand seemed to grow baseball men … I think books on baseball should let you feel the sun on your skin, no matter what color it is. This one does that.” —Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of All Over but the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man
“… an exquisite blend of pain, pride, poignance, and ultimately triumph. This is World Series writing.” —Ray Jenkins, author of Blind Vengeance
“Written with the intensity and narrative tension of a great novel, this story of how the hopes and dreams of a small group of African-American boys and their legendary coach Jesse Norwood mirrors the Great American Dream itself is strong stuff. A terrific read and a powerful, unforgettable book!” —William Cobb, author of A Walk Through Fire