TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay organization that invests in the lives of young Black men has helped students become published authors and now their book is in an American museum.
The Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa, Inc. has been changing the lives of minority students since 2014. WFLA introduced the community to GQ in November.
Around that time, the group had recently published their book “I Am a Young Black Man.” It’s composed of poems written by different high school minority students across Tampa Bay.
That book is now on display at the American Poetry Museum in Washington, D.C.
“I’m proud to be a young Black man doing things like writing a book,” Miles Jones said.
Jones is a senior at Strawberry Crest High School. He has been a member of GQ for two years.
“I’ve been counted out, people betting against me and not really having much support,” Dominic Cooper said.
Cooper is also a senior at Strawberry Crest High School. Cooper and Jones are two of the authors published in GQ’s “I Am a Young Black Man” book.
“A lot of my friends who are also Black men or just in general aren’t published authors, so it just holds a certain sense of pride,” Jones said.
Jones, Cooper and 21 of their other GQ brothers visited Washington, D.C. in February. They visited the African American Museum, visited Howard University and they also went to the American Poetry Museum, which is where their own book is on display.
“I was so excited, it makes me feel like I’m being heard,” Cooper said.
Each student read their poem to an audience and other, more experienced, poets.
“We all have a voice especially In a world where a lot of the time men, especially Black young men don’t have a voice or their voices are nullified,” Jones said.
Now Jones, Cooper and 30 others voices are heard, seen and on display in a national museum.
“Never let nobody tell you you can’t do something,” Cooper said. “It’s always you can or you have the potential to be who you’re destined to be.”