Black, White, and Gray All Over

A Black Man's Odyssey in Life and Law Enforcement

Non-Fiction - Memoir
396 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2022
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Author Biography

Frederick Douglass Reynolds is a retired Black LA County Sheriff’s homicide sergeant. He was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan where he became a petty criminal and was involved in gangs. He joined the US Marine Corps in 1979 to escape the life of crime that he seemed destined for. After a brief stint in Okinawa, Japan, he finished out his military career in southern California and ultimately became a police officer with the Compton police department. He worked there from 1985 until 2000 and then transferred to the sheriff’s department where he worked an additional seventeen years, retiring in 2017 with over seventy-five commendations including a Chief’s Citation, five Chief’s commendations, one Exemplary Service Award, two Distinguished Service Awards, two Distinguished Service Medals, one city of Carson Certificate of Commendation, three City of Compton Certificate of Recognition, one city of Compton Public Service Hero award, one California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition, two State Senate Certificates of Recognition, a County of Los Angeles Certificate of Commendation, one Meritorious Service Award, two City of Compton Employee of the Year Awards, and two California Officer of the Year awards. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Carolyn, and their daughter Lauren and young son, Desmond. They have six other adult children and nine grandchildren.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

In Black, White, and Gray All Over, Frederick Douglass Reynolds recounts how he navigated life's hurdles from childhood until he retired from law enforcement. Born into a dysfunctional home and a violent community in Detroit, he followed a path of crime and recklessness to the disappointment of his mother. However, he turned his life around after moving to Compton and joining the police force but continued to battle different challenges, including racism and protests about racism, corrupt coworkers, the widespread issues of drug abuse, serious crime and violence, divorce, fatherhood, threats, and more. Fortunately, Frederick, who became an award-winning homicide detective, survived through it all to tell his emotionally-charged and deeply insightful story.

Black, White, and Gray All Over reminded me why I love memoirs as its adroit combination of highly intricate descriptions, rich historical information, and profound insights made it quite easy to picture the events and live in another's reality for a moment. Just thinking about the terrible, violent acts of humans that Frederick Douglass Reynolds witnessed as a police officer in Compton sends a chill down my spine; I can't imagine how emotionally challenging it would have been for the author to see babies and innocent adults suffer from different attacks. The book's historical information about Detroit and Compton is quite thorough and intriguing. Memoirs like Black, White, and Gray All Over help us to appreciate the simple things in life like peace and love, and the seriousness of or the need to fix some prominent societal problems. All in all, I learned a lot and was seriously moved by the book. You should definitely read it.