Crossing Farmers Boulevard

A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World

Non-Fiction - Biography
256 Pages
Reviewed on 11/23/2016
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Author Biography

Dr. Ronald Peters Jr. was born in Queens, New York. As a child, he was challenged by dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and an environment that was ideal for fight-or-flight reactive behaviors; drug use, violence, and human devaluation. His journey toward overcoming life’s challenges began in the public school system that educated the children of Farmers Boulevard. It was here that he was introduced to the hip-hop culture. Tagging and drawing afforded him a gateway to self-nurture and exercise his God-given thoughts, absent of judgment or devaluation, and provided him access to understanding the polarity of not only his academic weaknesses but also the innovative gifts that only dyslexia and ADD could afford. Through unexpected twists of events and courageous leaps of faith, he became a nationally recognized professor of behavioral science.
Dr. Peters has held faculty appointments at the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance, Houston Baptist University Center for Health Studies, Prairie View A&M University Department of Health and Human Performance, and Texas Southern University Department of Health Sciences. He served as director of the Historically Black College and University Applied Research Initiative with the Southwest Prevention Center at The University of Texas School of Public Health and was the principal investigator of the Houston Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program funded by the National Institute of Justice. In addition, he served as CEO of Intervention & Research Associates, a preventive research organization that provided applied health intervention and research evaluation services to universities and nonprofit organizations nationally and abroad.
Dr. Peters retired as an associate professor of behavioral sciences from The University of Texas in 2014. During his tenure, he had published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in the professional literature and received more than five million dollars in federal grants to investigate health behaviors among incarcerated and vulnerable populations. His research has been featured on ABC News, CBS News, CNN, ESPN, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, NBC News, NFL Live, VICELAND, and in USA Today, as well as a myriad of other national and international media outlets. Dr. Peters’s teaching and service awards include the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Golden Key Honor Society, African American Alumni of the Year from Virginia Commonwealth University, Legend in Education Award from the Ivy Educational and Charitable Foundation, and Living Legend Award from the Blue Triangle Multi-Cultural Association. He is an enshrinee into the Texas and Southwestern Region Halls of Fame of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Peters is the survivor of polycystic kidney disease, an ailment that shortened the lives of his father and grandfather. Through advances in medicine and the unconditional and selfless love of God through his life mate, LeCresha Peters, M.D., Dr. Peters was able to break the potential cycle of three generations of Peters’s men dying from the same condition.
Dr. Peters currently lives with his family in Pearland, Texas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World by Dr. Ronald Peters is a powerful testament of faith, a man’s journey towards maturity, and his quest to create a life of meaning and purpose. Somewhat hilarious and highly evocative, the author shares his struggles growing up in Bricktown, Queens, New York, and the defining moments that have shaped his personality and made him strong and caring, but above all, it’s a story of his faith — faith in himself, faith in God, and faith in the path he’s had to walk.

There are very beautiful passages in this story, each chapter having a philosophy of its own. Dr. Ronald Peters’ story reminded me of Richard Wright’s Black Boy and the role a mother plays in shaping a boy’s character. In Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World, the author writes: “When I blindly walked my way up to the top of her staircase to get rescued from what I perceived as monsters coming to get me in the dark, she counter-punched me with a harsh opening of the door and a swift and irate summons back to my cot, 'Go back down there, boy, and lay down and go to sleep.'” This incident reminded me of Richard’s Wright’s mother sending him to the streets to buy food after being bullied. She asks Richard to go and buy and that if he’s bullied, he should fight back. He does and wins his freedom in the streets of Memphis. Dr. Ronald Peters’ experience offers a powerful lesson in earning our freedom from our demons, especially fear: confront it. Face it head on; deal with it! And there are many moments like this in this slim, yet well-written and beautifully paced autobiography.

This is one of the stories with powerful lessons on self-discovery and personal development. Although the author received important lessons from his childhood experiences, his journey towards maturity began when he crossed Farmers Boulevard. In a very warm and confident voice, he shares the gems picked up on this walk with readers. This book will undoubtedly have a very positive influence on many readers. A compelling autobiography with powerful lessons on personal growth.

Mamta Madhavan

Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World by Dr. Ronald J. Peters, Jr. throws light on how events, challenges, and other factors shaped the character of the author and took him on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. The candor and humor with which he has shared his experiences show the side of a loyalist who had an agonizing childhood in Southeast Queens, New York, from where two blocks up was Farmers Boulevard which exposed him to African American culture and life. Dr. Peters had both dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, which contributed to his academic weaknesses. The author speaks about how his parents, though not perfect, brought him up with good survivalist codes and decrees which provided him safety while growing up. He also speaks about surviving polycystic kidney disease and how he shattered the myth of generations of his family dying from this genetically inherited disease.

The memoir is heartrending and the author's words take readers into his world. The detailed narration makes the incidents and scenes clear and vivid; taking readers into his childhood days, his academic weaknesses, being exposed to hip-hop culture, and how finally tagging and drawing took him on a path of self-nurture and taught him to exercise God-given thoughts, devoid of judgment or devaluation. It also made him understand his polarity and showed him the gifts only a dyslexic and one with attention deficit disorder could afford. It’s a beautiful memoir and will challenge readers to handle the problems they face in life and grow to become better individuals.

Benjamin Ookami

In some ways we could say that having a goal which involves prosperity for ourselves is riddled with events and/or people that will either break us along the way or make us stronger so that when we get to the other side of that bridge of life, we can look back and see exactly what took place to get us to that point. From his early childhood in Queens to a time and place that has him shedding tears of joy, Dr. Ronald J. Peters, Jr. illustrates in Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World everything placed on his path on his own bridge of life before he could get to that particular point of happiness. He also shows us how God worked to get him there.

People encounter both the successful and unsuccessful throughout their own life journey. I myself am guilty of focusing mostly on the result instead of the fact that the result is human and that things happened in that person's life to get him or her there. Reading this biography will show many readers that behind every suit and tie, trophy and diploma, shopping cart and dog, is a story. Dr. Ronald J. Peters, Jr. has conveyed to me the importance of pushing through, no matter what, and to look at all things from two sides instead of one. Unafraid to don hip-hop gear in public, he is perhaps the personification of what he aims to teach readers. Read it. You'll definitely start looking at that boss of yours differently.

Faridah Nassozi

In his biography titled Crossing Farmers Boulevard - A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World, Dr. Ronald Peters shares his story of an amazing life journey, the challenges he had to overcome, the ups and downs and the trials and triumphs. He shares his experiences on a journey from childhood all the way to retirement, the people he met along the way, the memories created - some good and some not so much - and the lessons learned. From a childhood in a loving but very strict home, an abusive caretaker, a crime infested neighbourhood, battling learning disabilities in a society that mocked instead of helping, through many more challenges, Dr. Ronald Joseph Peters Jr. endured until he finally found his footing and purpose. Looking back at all those times, he shares the lessons learned from each situation, and how they prepared him for better survival and shaped him into the man he turned out to be. This is the story of a man who achieved so much, even when the odds were not in his favour. It was not an easy journey, but it was worth every single step taken.

Crossing Farmers Boulevard - A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World by Dr. Ronald Peters is the story of a man who overcame more than most and defied the odds to achieve triumph and purpose. The central message of the polarity of life shares an important lesson that whatever the event or situation, there are always two sides to it. This is a brilliant message that I hope to live by and always endeavour to see both sides of situations, even though the message might not immediately manifest. Dr. Ronald Peters' life experiences and the lessons shared will leave you a changed person who sees situations from more than just one angle. The author urges you to pick direction from whatever you are going through so you can be better prepared for tomorrow. His biography is a lesson in ultimately achieving enlightenment and gratification through appreciating the polarity of life.

Ryan Jordan

Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World by Dr. Ronald Peters is a well-written and interesting journey through one man's life and experiences to try to help rationalize modern events and culture. It begins with a discussion of the author's family, particularly his father, and the issues that he faced to become the type of man he was. This is underscored by the details around the issues he faced in a country struggling to make sense of itself, whereby a man who sold drugs might receive a seventy-five-year sentence in prison, and have that same sentence overturned after only a few years by a new president. There is a drawn comparison between the lives of a prisoner and a soldier who is reinserted back into the world, and the equity which they face after everything they've undergone.

It continues from here into discussing domestication, the author's life experiences, and everything else with an outward focused viewpoint. The author does a great job in this memoir of using the micro to explain the macro cases of everything he presents, and it makes this a brilliantly drawn memoir with far-reaching consequences. I particularly liked the pictures and quotes scattered throughout the text to add extra layers to the story being presented. Everything about the memoir was professional and succinct, and Crossing Farmers Boulevard: A Journey to Oneness in a Polarizing World by Dr. Ronald Peters is a brilliantly told story of a man's life that helps to explain the polarization that came about in culture and various events/situations that influenced it.