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Reviewed by Rita Vetsch for Readers' Favorite
"SUBIC: A Sailor’s Memoir", based on the story of Bobby Earl Perkins, is a very heart-wrenching and true memoir written by Dr. Barbara Perkins-Brown, Ed.D. This story is about the soulful journey of a great and courageous African American man that served as a sailor for the U.S. Navy at the Subic Bay Naval Base stationed in the Philippines while the Civil Rights Movement was happening simultaneously back in the U.S. in the 1960’s. Bobby Earl Perkins was a very hardworking man who was given the job as a cook on one of the fleets at Subic Bay. He faced many personal struggles with discrimination, oppression and racial segregation during his time there. His commanding officers would tell him that he was a troublemaker because of his color and was treated very unfairly because of his race. It is there that Bobby found a Black study group and a love for basketball that happened just when he needed support the most. He could now confide in real friends, who would guide and help him deal with the hatred as best as he could. They greatly helped him to keep his dignity as a Black serviceman, despite all of the racial slurs and threats. He was treated like a slave by his superiors and White shipmates and made to feel inferior; even held back from trying to advance himself up the ranks.
Bobby Earl Perkins is a survivor of racial prejudices and deliberate injustice that brought from his homeland to a foreign land. He leaves Subic shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was ruthlessly assassinated. Dr. Barbara Perkins-Brown does an amazing job on bringing this memoir to life and does her father great justice in telling his story. The photos included also help the reader to picture Bobby Earl Perkins and everything he had to endure while serving his time in the Navy. I was overwhelmed with every emotion possible while reading this outstanding memoir. It tugged at my heartstrings as though I were really there with Bobby, going through the racial prejudice and hatred myself. It is a great story of one man’s struggle and his faith in God. This memoir is very inspiring and reminds us that we are all human beings to be treated with pride and dignity.