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The Pact Essay

Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt were a group of childhood friends. They all grew up in the rough neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey. Without a father and many without even a positive black man they could inspire to be. They all met at a junior high/high school were they came together and made a pact that no matter what obstacles came about, they would all stick together and become doctors.

Rameck and Sam became doctors and George became a dentist, but always felt like they needed to help black people more than just becoming doctors. “All my life I had been taught that black folks have a responsibility to help one another out”. (132) Even while still in college, they start a group called Ujima which meaning is “collective work and responsibility.” Ujima was started so that the three guys could go to elementary school similar to the ones they went to; to tutor the student and talk about college life. After becoming doctors, when college and medical school were over for them, they started the foundation Three Doctor Foundation were they provided health awareness, mentoring and scholarship money to inner-city students.

Classification of the Kind of Book:

The Pact is a non-fiction book. It follows the real life events in the lives of its three authors, Drs. George Jenkins, Sampson Davis and Rameck Hunt. It tells first hand what these men went through, so it would be considered an autobiography. The book is written in an informative manner because its readers are learning how the authors set their goals and continuously pursued them. “They are an inspiration to young people…” declared Bill Clinton, which will make this book an important part of history for some.

Classification of the Author’s Intention:

This book was written for adolescences and teenagers whose lives are headed in the wrong direction (i.e. gang-banging, selling drugs, and dropping out of school). These three men want to encourage their readers to get an education beyond high school and not become the stereotypical uneducated, thugs that they and everyone else were sure they, themselves, would become. They said, “They are young brothers, often drug dealers, gang members, or small-time criminals…we see ourselves as teenagers, we see our friends, we see what we easily could have become as young adults”. (pg. 1)

Drs. Davis, Jenkins and Hunt all struggled financially in their early life, but they were rich with support from family and especially friends. They wrote this book also for those who did not have that. “Our hearts are still with the families and friends who didn’t have the opportunities, the friendships, or maybe even the crazy dreams that were somehow given to us- those who are still struggling every day to survive. They are the reason we wrote this book”. (pg.239)

Subject and Thesis Statement:

The subject of the Pact is overcoming life’s obstacles to make something productive out of yourself for your community. That having a group of good, quality friends can help guide you into the right path. Davis, Jenkins and Hunt all had different events that almost caused them to give up on their goals, but they clung to each other for support. “We had been inseparable for all four years of college”. (pg.181) The authors also understood that there are very few inspirational men in the black communities for younger black males to look up to. “As a teenager, I lacked the one person in my life who could have made a difference- a male mentor, a respectable father figure…” (pg.138)

A great thesis for this book was written in its introduction. It states, “The lives of most impressionable young people are defined by their friends, whether they are black, white, Hispanic or Asian; whether they are rich, poor, or middle-class; whether they live in the city, suburbs, or country… We know firsthand that the wrong friends can lead you to trouble. But even more, they can tear down your hopes, dreams and possibilities. We know, too, that the right friends inspire you, pull you through, rise with you.”

Less than thirty percent of African American males in the New York high school system graduate with an actual Diploma. The three authors knew that they could have easily been apart of that percent if they were not fortunate enough to have each other to “lean on”. “We could not do this if we didn’t have the support of each other” (126) they encourage the younger generation to find those friends that will be there for you with a common goal that can achieve together.

Analysis of Structure:

This was a very organized and easy to follow along with story of these future doctors lives. In the beginning, the authors told the readers about their childhoods and how they came to know each other. The book was constantly going back and forth from George, Rameck and Sam so that the reader could see what one boy was going through while the other was simultaneously dealing with a different, but still similar, situation. Then the middle of the book was dedicated to the college life of the three future doctors. The headings in this portion of the book were so intriguing, that it lured the reader into life of these best friends.

First person story telling made the audience feel like they were struggling in college and medical school with them. At the end the doctors gave some insight into what they did after they got their degree. This was really good because many books tend to stop the story before telling its readers how the lives of its characters were going. The Epilogue at the end of the story also helped to inform the reason for the book.

Summary of Content:

Three black boys grew up in the ghetto neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey. Those streets were highly influenced by gang activity, drugs and poverty. Due to the conditions that stood before the young boys, they were forced to look to their grimy environment for guidance. George, Rameck and Sam met at University High School, a high school for the gifted children in Newark. While they all were smart, none of them worked to their full potential. They tried to keep one foot in their old neighborhoods and one foot inside the schools. After two of them went to juvenile jail and the other was tired of dealing with the neighborhood kids, the three became friends.

As friends they went to a college seminar that was there to encourage black teen to join the medical field. George had always had a dream of becoming a Dentist and he was able to talk his two best friends Rameck and Sam into going to the college with him. Sam was really unsure that he wanted to be a doctor, but he just agreed anyway because he knew he wanted to make something of himself and this seemed like a good way to do just that. They went to Seton Hall together and Sam and Rameck were slightly separated from George because he was highly interested in becoming a Dentist and the other two were uncertain.

After graduating from Seton Hall in the top of their class, they had to split up. They had to separate because George had to go school for dentistry and the others had to go to medical school. This change in situation really tried George. Forced him too see that he had to survive by himself without the two guy he had used to lean on for the past eight years. Rameck and Sam got to go to medical school together. When Sam began to have difficulty with the qualifying exam to continue to the next level in medical school George drove down to Camden from his school in Newark and he and Rameck tried for lots of consecutive weekends to try to make Sam feel better about the test and better about his future.

George, Rameck and Sam all graduated out of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of Jersey system. They all landed into the careers that they were hoping for. George was an Administrator and assistant Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of Jersey in Newark, Sam is an Emergency Room attending Physician, a head doctor, at Beth Israel Hospital, in Newark and Rameck is the Assistant Professor and director of the outpatient clinic at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick”. (239) They all stayed friend and founded the Three Doctors Foundation. “… we hope to inspire and create opportunities for inner-city communities by providing education, mentoring and health awareness”.

Critical Comments:

The writing style of the authors is totally appropriate of their intended audience. The book was written for young black teenage males especially and this book would be quite easy for them to read. The Pact has action and language that mimic most inner-city communities today. It also has a lack of huge studious words that most teen guys are unfamiliar with.

The purpose of this book is to encourage young people to go to college and make something respectable out of them. The purpose was achieved because the book inspired kids to look up to those doctors. “…kids come up to us in their cliques and say they’re going to form their own pact”. (235) The Three Doctors Foundation that was started by George, Sam and Rameck also helped to push more teens into wanting to go to college.

The fact that they all became doctors helps to strengthen their thesis. One question it does bring up is, “Do teenage boys really need influential men in their lives in order to become something positive?” For many years people, especially blacks, like to blame the lack of father figures in their life for the lack of success they accomplished.

This was a really good book. Even for those who are not too fond of reading. The Pact should be recommended to other teacher to use as a part their curricular. There was no information omitted and the fact that life after the degrees was told made the book even better. I was inspired by these strong black men and I’m sure other are too.

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