Ripon College's Roy pens 'Recovering Skinhead'

Book chronicles life of American Nazi

The Reporter, Ripon College/March 24, 2010

Ripon - Detestation, loathing, revulsion, disgust and extreme dislike are all synonyms for hatred.

"Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: Frank Meeink's Story," as told to Ripon College Communication Professor Jody Roy, is a tale of personal transformation from a world consumed with hate to one that breaks down racial boundaries, according to a press release from the college.

The recently published autobiography is the story of Meeink, his descent into America's Nazi underground and his victory over hatred and addiction.

Meeink relates the story of his violent childhood in South Philadelphia to Roy - one in which he grew accustomed to hatred and became an easy prey for a small group of skinhead gang recruiters. By the time he was 16, he was one of the most notorious skinhead gang leaders on the East Coast. At 18, he was incarcerated in an Illinois prison.

While he was imprisoned, Meeink began to question his hatred. After joining a Bible discussion group and participating on prison sports teams with African-Americans, he told Roy he began to realize that everyone was equal. When he was released from prison, Meeink left the white supremacy movement and began working with the Anti-Defamation League to spread the word about his story and his transformation.

Roy is professor of communication and chair of the department, and assistant dean of faculty. She also serves as chair of the board of directors for the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), which is a national, nonprofit anti-violence organization.

"Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead" is Roy's third book. Her other books are entitled "Love to Hate: America's Obsession with Hatred and Violence" and "Rhetorical Campaigns of the Nineteenth-Century Catholics and Anti-Catholics in America."

Eventually, Meeink started working with the Philadelphia Flyers to launch Harmony Through Hockey, a hate-prevention program that brings together children from diverse backgrounds to learn about hockey. He has also worked with the Iowa Stars and the Iowa Ducks.

"Frank Meeink's story is inspiring, compelling, and moving. It has the power to change lives. We should all be grateful to him for sharing it," stated Morris Dees, founder and chief trial counsel at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Jerry Stahl, author of "Pain Killers" and "Permanent Midnight" agreed.

"Frank Meeink's story is so brutal, so visceral, so unflinching, and in the end, so soul-wrenchingly, specifically American, that it should from this moment on be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the origin of race hatred in these United States of America. It is testament to a great heart, to a man willing to own up to his own violent past and, ultimately, shine a light of hope on this sick, pigment-fixated, demented nation we inhabit."

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