Bio: Jerry Freeman
New Book: In A Kick-Ass Sentimental Mood
Born and raised in Mason City, Iowa, Jerry considers himself a true child of the American heartland. He joined the War on Poverty the year it was declared, 1964, and engaged the enemy in Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale. He earned a BA with honors from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, majoring in sociology/anthropology, and an MSW in community organizing from the University of Minnesota. He then organized the West Seventh Community Center in St. Paul (still in operation after 40 years) and directed the University of Minnesota’s HELP Center (Higher Education for Low-Income People). Jerry returned to graduate school to study English and creative writing but left when a creative thesis was disallowed (no MFA program at that time), continuing to study narrative art from the Loft and other local writers’ organizations. He managed every one of Minneapolis’ 42 public housing highrises, initiating the first resident management project. Recruited by public housing residents to work for them as an organizer/trainer, he helped establish the citywide Highrise Representative Council (still in operation after 25 years) as a permanent resident voice in housing management. For the last 12 years he has worked for the state’s African American newspaper, the 79-year-old Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the last 10 as senior editor.
Jerry is blessed with a loving wife of more than 30 years, three grown children and a grandson. As his working life afforded him little opportunity to write except late at night and weekends, his greatest hope is that his stories and novels are worth the many thousands of hours stolen from family friends, and jobs that earn money.