Diesel Heart: An Autobiography by Melvin Carter Jr.
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Featured on The Thread: You know St. Paul's mayor -- now meet his dad in a new autobiography
The doctors gathered around, passing the stethoscope from hand to hand, taking turns listening to my chest. Finally, the lead doctor said, "Now, that's what I call a heartbeat!"
I snapped, "Whaddaya mean?"
"It's like hearing a diesel engine inside a Mustang body," he said.
Melvin Whitfield Carter Jr., the father of St. Paul's current mayor, is a true son of Rondo, the city's storied African American neighborhood. He was born in a city divided along racial lines and rich in cultural misunderstanding. Growing up in the 1950s and '60s, he witnessed the destruction of his neighborhood by the I-94 freeway—and he found his way to fighting and trouble.
But Carter turned his life around. As a young man, he enlisted in the US Navy. He used his fighting ability to survive racist treatment, winning boxing matches and respect. And as an affirmative action hire in the St. Paul Police Department, facing prejudice at every turn, this hardworking, talented, and highly principled officer fought to protect the people of the city he calls home.
Diesel Heart is the story of a leader who created a powerful family legacy by standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity.