The Black Knight: An African-American Family’s Journey from West Point—a life of Duty, Honor and Country

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by Clifford Worthy

In the 1940s, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was out of reach for most African-Americans due to racial barriers. Clifford Worthy was one of the first who was accepted and excelled as a Black Knight of the Hudson. His courageous Army service around the world balanced military and family life, even as he and his wife raised a child with special needs. In this inspiring memoir, Cliff tells how faith and family guided him as he tried to live out the USMA motto: Duty, Honor, Country.

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Front Edge Publishing released The Black Knight in January 2019.

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ISBN: 978-1-64180-030-3


Praise for The Black Knight

I love this country. Cliff Worthy loves this country. I hope that this memoir will remind you of what it truly means to be an American. We come together. We serve.
From the Foreword by former U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr.

Academy graduates are special, and Cliff Worthy is definitely one of those special people. He has fought his way through virtually every stage in life with his faith in God giving him the necessary strength and courage.
Rick Forzano, former head coach of the Detroit Lions.

We officers who followed Cliff Worthy—and the hundreds of minority cadets at the Academy today—appreciate his tremendous contribution.
Joseph B. Anderson, Jr., West Point Class of 1965.

Colonel Worthy’s understanding of and commitment to the highest standards of soldier systems continues to be the cornerstone of professional excellence in America’s Army!
Bruce G. MacDonald, Major General, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret).

In this authentic story of one man’s life journey, we are given a glimpse of the true struggles on which faith and commitment are built. Cliff Worthy reminds us what it is to be human—as a soldier, as a husband and in his important role as a parent.
Cheryl Loveday, Executive Director of Angels’ Place and the Honorable James L. Ryan.

Stories of certain lives deserve to be told and preserved. They serve as inspiration for all of us and for generations that follow. Colonel Cliff Worthy’s is one of those lives. The Black Knight is his story. It is uplifting to learn what this man has experienced, accomplished and now shares with us.
James B. Hayes, former Publisher of FORTUNE magazine.

 


 

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Clifford Worthy, the great grandson of slaves, was one of the few African-American men of his generation who was accepted and excelled as a Black Knight of the Hudson, a traditional nickname for West Point cadets. Worthy describes his journey to West Point, the many challenges he overcame both in his family and in the U.S. Army, including service in the front lines of Vietnam.

Rick Forzano, former head coach of the Detroit Lions praises Worthy’s memoir and his example to all of us. “He has fought his way through virtually every stage in life with his faith in God giving him the necessary strength and courage,” Forzano writes.

In the late 1940s, the doors to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were closed to most young African-American men. The few who had attended the prestigious military academy before that were subjected to relentless abuse and few survived. Why would Worthy even consider such an impossible dream? At a crossroads in his young life, Worthy took the chance of reaching out to U.S. Rep. John Dingell Sr., who had been a proud part of the New Deal in Washington D.C. and was ready to unlock closed doors. “We need to keep opening doors for other families,” retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell, Jr., writes in the book’s Foreword. “If my father had not taken that chance in the 1940s of sending a young African-American student from Detroit to West Point—Cliff would not have had his remarkable career. … As it was in the past, our country once again is deeply divided. I love this country. Cliff Worthy loves this country. I hope that this memoir will remind you of what it truly means to be an American.”

Worthy’s commitment to faith, family and service included his loving support of his son Mark, who was born with developmental disabilities at a time when the boy’s disabilities were not widely understood. That part of this memoir already is inspiring readers who share that long journey with loved ones who live with disabilities.

In praising this memoir, Cheryl Loveday, Executive Director of Angels’ Place in Michigan, urges families facing these challenges to read this book. “As the father of three remarkable children, it was the life and specialness of his son Mark that led Cliff to dedicate his time and his wisdom to the Angels’ Place mission—helping to provide homes and hope to hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities.”

James B. Hayes, former Publisher of FORTUNE magazine, writes of The Black Knight: “Stories of certain lives deserve to be told and preserved. They serve as inspiration for all of us and for generations that follow. Colonel Cliff Worthy’s is one of those lives.”