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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
From the Back of the Bus to the Front of the Classroom: My Thirty-Year Journey as a Black and Blind Professor by Dr. J.W. Smith is the compelling story of a black and blind professor, and he speaks about his experiences from being a graduate student to thirty years of full-time teaching and researching in academia. He describes how his journey has metaphorically brought him from the back of the bus to the front of the classroom. His position was unique and the intersection of ableism and race was an intricate part of who he was and how others saw him. The memoir covers his graduate school experiences while pursuing a Ph.D., the interview process, how he got into Ohio University, his pre-tenure and pre-promotion years, after-tenure and promotion years, embracing of the 21st century, and a discussion of relevant strategies.
Dr. J.W. Smith's story is honest, frank, fresh, and heartwarming, and his faith in God, hard work, perseverance, and family support are palpable to readers from his words. The author also shows his gratitude for being trusted in the classroom, and how he developed his techniques and strategies that made his teaching effective. He is vocal about how he dealt with his blindness when it came to teaching and how he enjoyed his role as a committee member and senior faculty member. From the Back of the Bus to the Front of the Classroom is encouraging, inspiring, and gives hope to many readers to come to terms with their ableism if they have been dealing with it, and to handle life with faith and belief in God and themselves.