Positive Black males and fathers do exist, but oftentimes mugshots and unsettling statistics about Black men push to the top of breaking news reports.
“You don’t see much coverage of excellence and Black sons. There are young black men out there that don’t get the spotlight on them that are doing good. There are productive black youth in this community,” Duane Bumpass said, mentioning the prevalence of negative images.
The retired UPS worker and business owner who runs Clean Concepts Mobile Detailing and Bumpeasy Entertainment was encouraged by his customers to pen a nonfiction called “How I Raised 4 Successful Black Sons” to draw more attention to the positive outcome of his fatherhood journey. The self-published book was officially released on Wednesday, December 7, 2022.
“I really didn’t think my kids were special. I just thought it was normal for what I did, and for what me and my wife did in our household,” the Upper Marlboro based author said.
A fascinating aspect of the family’s path is that before Duane united with his wife, Natasha Bumpass, she was raising her son, Ja’Quan Martinez, as a single parent. Bumpass was rearing his son, DeAundre Bumpass.
“He [ Duane] was a single dad when I met him, so that kind of piqued my interest and made me realize that he cared about his kids,” Natasha said.
Just as the book suggests, Bumpass played an active role in guiding four young men to sidestep pitfalls and achieve greatness.
Sgt. Ja’Quan Martinez, 27, is among Duane’s sons he raised. He has been employed as a United States Marine since he was 19 years old.
Duane taught his stepson how to overcome adversity and to be headstrong.
“Mental toughness is a key trait for young men to have, because once you leave the protection of your parents, you are at the mercy of the rest of the world,” he said.
Martinez believes that the book helps to point out the importance of a father figure.
“Duane was not my biological father, but he stepped in to be the guide that was needed in life. We didn’t see eye to eye much as I was growing up but looking back on all he did I appreciate and respect what he did for me. I’m able to successfully raise my own son from what I’ve learned from him,” Martinez added. “Hopefully this book can inspire young men as well to not only understand and appreciate the life lessons their fathers are trying to teach them, and also help inspire young men who are fathers to understand the importance of guiding the next generation of young men so we all can keep continuing to reach our full potential.”
DeAundre, 26, is another successful son. He earned a Doctor of Pharmacy and is employed as a Pharmacy Manager at Walgreens in Texas. DeAundre recalls that his father told him that “you have to pay to play.”
“I always interpreted that as if you want to be successful and enjoy life, you have to first put in the hard work, dedication, and effort,” he explained. “That piece of advice repeatedly comes to mind not just when spending money on the fun things in life, but also when I would be met with challenges in my undergraduate years, professional education, and life.”
Natasha and her husband, Duane were also blessed with 19-year-old twins, Jamar Bumpass and Jamil Bumpass. They currently attend Colby College in Maine. Jamar reflected about what he learned from his father.
“My father has taught me how to take care of myself and manage my money effectively. He has helped take my focus away from things that don’t matter,” Jamar said.
Jamil benefits from lessons Duane imparted about staying out of trouble in his youth. He also defines success from a personal perspective.
“Success in my opinion is having everything you worked for from the beginning and being able to live comfortably and happily, meeting the desired expectations you set for yourself and not the ones others set for you,” he said.
Natasha described herself as a nurturer who introduced civility to the boys while Duane was more of a disciplinarian for them.
“It’s a lot of things that a mother can’t teach your child that only a father can teach your child,” she said.
Duane explained that he would like blended families, parents, children who are ages seven and teenagers to read his book.
“Instead of always demanding things from that child, give that child a voice to tell you what they want to do, and where they want to be, not what you want them to be,” Duane said. “You definitely need open communication with your children.”
Autographed copies of “How I Raised 4 Successful Black Sons” can be ordered via https://square.link/u/VvlBryKr. The book can also be purchased from Amazon and other mainstream retailers.