Book Promo ~ Black Sheep

A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment,
Belonging, Racism, and Redemption

Black Sheep: A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment, Belonging, Racism, and Redemption by [Ray "BEN" Studevent, Ph.D. My Haley]

Ray Studevent walked hesitantly toward the door of the nursing home and prayed that his Momma, now in the throes of dementia, would recognize him. Surely, the blue eyes would give him away. The blue eyes that his Momma originally equated with hatred and brutality.

White on the outside, Black on the inside, Ray grew up on the eastern side of the Anacostia River, the Blackest part of the Blackest city in America not long after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the D.C. race riots. There were guidelines if you were Black; different rules if you were White; but only mixed messages for mixed-race children like Ray, who had to fight for acceptance and struggle to find his identity.

Black Sheep: A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment, Belonging, Racism, and Redemption is the unforgettable true story of Ray’s struggles as a mixed-race boy learning to fight the ghosts of his past to find trust and love. Abandoned by his White, heroin-addicted mother and Black, violently alcoholic father, Ray found salvation at age 5 when he was adopted into a loving, stable home by his father’s uncle Calvin and his wife, Lemell. But that is just the beginning of the story.

Lemell is suddenly widowed and must raise Ray and her two daughters as a single mother in Chocolate City. Each time she looks into Ray’s blue eyes, she sees the Klansmen who tormented her family as she grew up in segregated Mississippi.

Ray and Lemell must navigate the minefields of society’s outward racial tensions while inwardly, Lemell does her best to overlook her emotional scars and suppress her justifiable resentment toward White people when she looks into Ray’s blue eyes.

Black Sheep takes readers on an emotional journey and reveals universal truths through faith and great humor. It is a search for who we are, where we fit and who we can become. Imagine a book where The Notebook meets The Help.

About the Author
Ray “Ben” Studevent was a mixed-race child whose unique look led him to fight a racial identity crisis his entire life. Each time he entered a room, he had to decide whether it was better to be Black or White. His personal and career journeys ebbed and flowed, taking him to prison, fatherhood and gigs in comedy clubs, modeling and stock-market research. In all these varied experiences, he realized that race played a critical role. Visit his website at:

Amazon Review
Black Sheep is a profoundly powerful tome about making peace with your past by daring to face it. I was stirred with emotion, and connected intimately with this memoir on so many levels. It is a must read for anyone seeking healing and redemption from the ghosts of their past.” ––Sophia A. Nelson, award-winning journalist and nonfiction author; CNN political and legal commentator

Black Sheep
Publisher: HCI Books
ISBN-10: 0757323812
ISBN-13: 978-0757323812

Available on
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback

Book Promo: The Organ Thieves

Racism And Distrust
In The Country’s Medical System
Among African Americans

The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South by Chip Jones

It’s no secret that the nation has seen a disproportionate loss of life among black Americans. That was the case in May 1968, when Bruce Tucker, a black factory worker, suffered a skull fracture and was rushed to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). In less than 24 hours, the MCV surgeons had transplanted Tucker’s heart into the chest of a white businessman, prompting America’s first civil lawsuit for the wrongful death of its kind as explored in The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South (Gallery/Jeter Publishing), by Pulitzer Prize nominee and investigative journalist Chip Jones.

For the first time, The Organ Thieves shows how racially biased attitudes fit a broader pattern of discriminatory behavior toward black patients in the 1960s. Jones uncovers never-before-heard details and new investigative reporting including:

1. The non-consensual surgical extraction of Bruce Tucker’s heart by surgeons at the Medical College of Virginia. After a junior medical examiner okayed the operation, Tucker’s beating heart was transplanted into the chest of an ailing white business-man without any prior consent by Mr. Tucker’s family.

2. Original archival legal and court documents, buttressed by eyewitness interviews with physicians, lawyers and journalists—many of whom will be available for an interview for the book—who provide a tense, minute-by-minute account of the last hours of Bruce Tucker.

3. Medical professional betrayals that mounted after the MCV doctors and adminis- trators were shocked and dismayed to lose the heart transplant race to a previously obscure South African doctor, Christiaan Barnard, on December 3, 1967.

4. The first interview about the case in nearly half a century with L. Douglas Wilder, who was the Tucker family’s attorney in the case, and who would go on to become the first elected black governor in the United States.

5. How Tucker’s brother William, a local store-owner and cobbler, was frantically calling the hospital after getting a tip from an insider that surgeons were planning something strange for Bruce, who was unconscious at the time.

6. An in-depth exploration of the tradition of body-snatching that required surgical residents to work with professional grave robbers, a/k/a “resurrectionists.” These practices lingered in the former capital of the Confederacy throughout Reconstruction and near the dawn of the 20th century. The book reveals the strange life of MCV’s live-in body snatcher, Chris Baker— a black man who was revered by white medical students even as he faced threats of violence by local black citizens.

7. A controversy surrounding MCV in 1994 when evidence of dumping bodies into old wells popped into public view during a construction project at what is now Virginia Commonwealth University’s medical center. After archaeologists managed to exhume more than 50 human remains, the university ordered the site shut down—leaving an untold number of other remains beneath the front entrance of the building.

About the Author
Chip Jones has been reporting for nearly thirty years for the Richmond Times-DispatchThe Roanoke Times, Virginia Business magazine, and others. As a reporter for The Roanoke Times, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Pittston coal strike. He is the former communications director of the Richmond Academy of Medicine, which is where he first discovered the heart stopping story in The Organ Thieves.

“This powerful book weaves together a medical mystery, a legal drama, and a sweeping history, its characters confronting unprecedented issues of life and death under the shadows of centuries of racial injustice.  Jones evokes each person and each scene with remarkable skill and compassion, recreating an America of the 1960s and 1970s that speaks directly to the dilemmas of the twenty-first century.” ~ Edward L. Ayers, winner of the Bancroft and Lincoln Prizes


The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the
First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South
Gallery/Jeter Publishing
Release Date: August 18, 2020

Pre-Order NOW

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