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Against the odds: 3 black doctors detail journey to success

Chevel Johnson, Associated Press | 5/13/2018, 11:55 p.m.
One used to deal drugs on the streets of New Orleans. Another grew up in Chicago with two drug-addicted parents. ...
Joseph Semien, Jr., from left, Pierre Johnson and Maxime Madhere on their book called "Pulse of Perseverance: Three Black Doctors on Their Journey to Success." (Aaron Cormier via AP)

"This was my first encounter with death. The image of this man dead on the pavement, with the police and paramedics swarming around him, was immediately burned into my 7-year-old mind. It remains there to this day," he wrote.

Johnson writes of being 3 when he and his mother frantically ran from his father "who was high out of his mind."

"We sought refuge at my paternal grandparents' house ..." he writes. "We crawled under the covers; I thought for a moment that we were safe. A few minutes later, my father came into the bedroom, dragged my mom into the hallway by her ankle, and beat her."

Both parents struggled with addiction, and Johnson wrote: "I learned as a young boy that one of my purposes in life was to help others who could not help themselves."

The three doctors decided to tell their stories in one project because they'd already proven they could work together. Johnson said he plans to push his friends to write a follow-up.

"If this book does what we hope and plan, to inspire kids everywhere and to push people to achieve success through all circumstances, definitely a second book is in the making," he said. -- (AP)