Forgotten Struggles

Parker History Teacher, Otis Pope, Writes His First Book.


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

“I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Pope my sophomore year,” senior Ben Rachel said. “Not only did he make his class fun and engaging, but he also taught me history that I still use and remember today.”

Dr. Otis Pope teaches ninth and tenth grade, beginning his career at Parker in 2019. He expressed his love for teaching at Parker, praising students for their unique intellectual curiosity. 

“Dr. Pope is one of the best teachers I’ve had at Parker,” senior Diana Llamas said. “When I was informed that he had written a book, I was excited to read it!” 

Dr. Pope has spent the past few years writing and editing his book: “Forgotten Struggles.” His book is nonfiction and covers the Korean War Era, specifically the stories of A. Phillip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, and Jesse LeRoy Brown.

When Pope was asked about why he chose these three men, he explained their history, and how without understanding these men and their actions, people  can’t understand the Korean War.

“My advice to someone before they read my book is to read up on President Truman who initiated Executive Order 9981 which desegregated the U.S. military, at least theoretically,” Pope said when asked what he thinks readers should understand before diving into his book. “In order to understand the Korean War Era, you have to understand President Truman as a politician and as a man who had decent morals and values. I would also do some research on the 24th Infantry which is a key part of my book.” 

During his research, writing and editing process of his book, he had to juggle his teaching profession and preparations to become a father. 

“It was tumultuous. I spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic in my basement writing. I had a lot of energy, and my wife suggested that I turn my dissertation into a book.” Pope said about the process of writing his book. “It was partially like pandemic therapy, but also wanting to get African American stories out from the Korean War Era.”

Pope has been working on Forgotten Struggles for seven to nine years. During that time, he traveled and interviewed important people such as Colonel Porcher Taylor and Wardell Johnson.

“After my first draft, I sent it to an editor and he tore it apart. When I looked at the feedback, I was kind of discouraged as I didn’t have time to do everything he asked,” Pope said. “I had to dig deep. I do believe that the adversity we face are teachable moments.”

“I would say that history has a lot of common themes,” Pope said. “If you look at the Korean War and see how African Americans and other groups fought through these challenges, and were able to secure more agency, more political power, and more social power, I think you could only interpret that as hope. When you are looking at this book, the stories should be viewed as inspiration for our generation and what we face today in America.”

Pope would like to see his book taught in courses for United States  History: “It would be a dream come true. I would love to use my book, the transcripts, and the interviews to further bolster the American History class offered to juniors.”

“The importance of highlighting historical topics such as these is to educate our future leaders. In order for people in your generation and my daughter as she grows up to become those leaders is to learn all the parts of this dynamic very complicated history of America,” Pope said.. “The Korean War is an important part of not only American history but military history as well. When you start to put containers around ideas and thoughts it affects all of us, but especially the young people of our society who need these ideas. The exposure of these ideas allows them to be dynamic, empathetic, and intellectually curious leaders of tomorrow.”

The aspect of the book focuses on the United States military. He discussed how the military is an equal and diverse institution compared to what it once was. “I believe America in some ways can learn a lot from the military. As a consequence of the Korean War and Executive Order 9981, we became an integrated army. We can take those stories and apply them to American society as a whole.”

Pope attributed his hard work writing his book to his wife. He called her his greatest supporter in his writing process. Though a possibility of a sequel to Forgotten Sequences as there are still many stories and topics that were not uncovered, Pope’s future plan is to be the best teacher he could be and also be a caring and loving father and husband. 

“Forgotten Struggles” will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on December 18th.