WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach native was honored this month for his book that analyzes the problems facing Black men in America.
Elvin Dowling published his book "Still Invisible? Examining America's Black Male Crisis" in January 2020.
He said the title is an homage to Ralph Ellison's groundbreaking 1952 novel "Invisible Man."
"I grew up on the corner of Palm Beach Lakes and Tamarind Avenue in the heart of West Palm Beach. One of the more challenged communities in Palm Beach County," Dowling said.
Dowling was Student Body President at Palm Beach Lakes High School in the early 1990s.
He went on to become chief of staff for Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League's national office.
The Pulitzer Prize nominee won the Florida Book Award last week, which means his book will now be on display at the Florida governor's mansion.
He spent five years interviewing and researching subjects for his book.
The author spoke with Black political leaders, doctors, attorneys, convicted felons, stay-at-home fathers and more to write the book.
Dowling said the common thread among these 15 Black men from around the country is they all at one point in their lives have experienced racism.
"Their experiences were almost all the same. We're talking about people who have ascended to the highest heights in their careers as well as brothers who were just struggling to get by," Dowling said. "They all faced the burning, sting of racism."
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., wrote the foreword for the book.
"The book was really written to give white Americans an inside view into the challenges and opportunities that African American men face in American society today," Dowling said.
As conversations around race in America continue and many watch the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin unfold, Dowling hopes there is one takeaway from his book.
"We want what everyone else wants, nothing more, nothing less," Dowling said.