Heroes of Early Black A.A.

Their Stories and Their Messages

Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana)

Also search under the following common variants and misspellings: Glenn Chesnut, Glen Chesnut, Glen Chestnut, Glenn Chestnut, Glen F. Chesnut, Glenn F. Chestnut, Glen F. Chestnut, Glenn C. South Bend

Glenn C., South Bend, Indiana, Heroes of Early Black A.A., Glenn F. Chesnut
Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana) Heroes of Early Black AA: Their Stories and Their Messages, July 2017, ISBN 978-1947-5191-07, viii + 460 pp., paperback $12.98 U.S.


The first full-length study in print of
African-Americans in early A.A.


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The stories of the first heroic black men and women who joined Alcoholics Anonymous, told wherever possible in their own words, recorded freely and frankly.

The story begins with St. Louis (January 24, 1945); followed by Chicago (March 20, 1945), along with the factory and foundry towns which spread eastwards as suburbs.

Later that same year (April 1945) came the story of Dr. James C. Scott, Jr., M.D., the black physician who founded the first black A.A. group in the nationís capital, and was the first black A.A. member to get his story in the Big Book.

The book concludes with the story of Joe McQuany (March 10, 1962) of the Joe and Charlie tapes, the most famous black figure in A.A. History. The lives of thousands and thousands of alcoholics around the world were saved by listening to recordings of his careful page-by-page explanation of the message of the Big Book.

The powerful spiritual messages of all these brave men and women struck the hearts of everyone who heard them speak.


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Table of Contents



Part I. St. Louis -- January 24, 1945
1. The First Black A.A. Group

Part II. Chicago -- March 20, 1945
2. The Chicago Axis: Riding on the South Shore Line

3. Bill Williams the Tailor: Chicago Black A.A. No. 4, Early Life
4. Bill Williams the Tailor: Discovering A.A. in Chicago
5. Bill Williams the Tailor: Working the Steps
6. Bill Williams the Tailor: Finding God, the Alpha and Omega

7. Jimmy Miller: First Lady of Black A.A.
8. Jimmy Miller: Forming the Interracial Group
9. Jimmy Miller: Meetings and Steps in Early A.A.
10. Jimmy Miller: He Knew It Was a God

11. Interview: How Bill Williams Traveled to Help Jimmy Miller

12. Brownie: the Professional Gambler and the St. Louis Blues
13. Brownie: Down and Out in South Bend, Indiana
14. Brownie: Gratitude and the Man Who Had No Arms or Legs

15. Goshen Bill: Sleeping in a Dump Truck
16. Goshen Bill: Fish Stories and Chickens Flying South
17. Goshen Bill: Working the Twelve Steps

18. John Shaifer: Interview
19. John Shaifer: the Steel Mill Worker from Gary

Part III. Washington, D.C. -- April 1945
20. Dr. James C. Scott, Jr. -- the National Fight for Black Rights
21. Dr. James C. Scott, Jr. -- His Story
22. Dr. James C. Scott, Jr.-- at the St. Louis International in 1955

Part IV. Joe McQuany -- 1977 -- the Joe and Charlie tapes
23. Joe McQuany: the Most Famous Black Figure in A.A. History
24. Joe McQuany: the Joe and Charlie Tapes

Appendix I: Theodoshia Cooper, Black Psychiatric Social Worker

Appendix II: Other Early Attempts to Bring Black People into A.A.


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