The Shooting

The Shooting Cover

The Shooting

A Memoir

By Kemp Powers

Da Capo Press, Hardcover, 9781568583204, 224pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2004


Kemp Powers was a good kid, an honors student, raised by a single mother in Brooklyn in the mid-1980s. Like many children, he lived in the sheltered world of his family and neighborhood. He was oblivious to the violence around him.

As a black teenager going to junior high in a white neighborhood, Kemp became acutely aware of the racial tension and violence bubbling up in New York (think Bernard Goetz and Howard Beach and crack cocaine). This, along with an adolescent interest in guns, changed Kemp's life forever.

In 1987, Kemp accidentally shot his best friend. His parents didn't press charges, and Kemp was forgiven by everyone, including the state of New York. But Kemp couldn't forgive himself. He thought about Henry every day and made a promise to never make a mistake again — a promise a child naively made that the adult couldn't keep.