"I believe in the elders." The collected wisdom of Pendarvis Harshaw | KALW

"I believe in the elders." The collected wisdom of Pendarvis Harshaw

Oct 16, 2017

Oakland author Pendarvis Harshaw's latest memoir OG Told Me isn’t just a book, it’s a survival guide. When Pendarvis was growing up without his father, he was always seeking wisdom from Black elders in his community. As he grew out of adolescence and found work as a teacher and journalist, he decided to get serious about sharing the tips he’d gathered — advice about making it in the streets of Oakland, and just generally being a good person.

"Through that circle of friends that I had, all of us subliminally or intentionally reaching out to elders and getting these concepts of manhood, we brought it all back together ... That's how we not only learned about manhood, but also how to navigate the neighborhood as human beings."

This piece is an excerpt from “I believe in the elders,” an episode of the East Bay Yesterday podcast. Pendarvis will also be doing a night of storytelling at the Old Mint in San Francisco Thursday, October 19, as part of the Economic Security Project’s CASH Conference.