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Benjamin J. Sims - Singing Rumpelstiltskin

Discovering A Pathway To The Best Days Of My Life

(AUTO)BIOGRAPHY | HISTORY | MUSIC

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“That’s just the way it is” is what Ben Sims heard throughout his life when he questioned why he was treated differently from white children or coworkers. It was a sentence that did not sit well with him, and he kept that inquisitive mindset throughout his career in the Air Force, his university education, and his jobs with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He has encountered racism in various forms but vowed not to yield to its principles and limitations, and he has always found a way to expose and denounce it. In this book, Ben Sims tells how he experienced racism and other -isms from childhood to the final stages of his working career. And how he manages to keep looking life in the face with a smile.

From growing up in the woodland ghetto of Cleveland, Ohio, his complex relationship with his father and a loving relationship with his mother and siblings, having his heart broken twice and being accused once in elementary school because of the color of his skin, getting stabbed, joining the Air Force and the Freemasons, starting a music career in San Francisco in the late 1960s, playing basketball and singing in the Vietnam War, being stationed in Germany and facing a discharge hearing on false charges, and meeting people like Malcolm X, Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin and being sacked from Isaac Hayes’ band, Ben Sims’s story is about a truly eventful life and one that resonates in 2021 because it shines a light on how Black people have to navigate society and succeed in spite of it.

Published in March 2022 | Paperback | With photo's | 160 pages | ca. 34,000 words
Full English manuscript available
English and Dutch editions published by Santasado

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Benjamin J. Sims (1944, Hartselle, Alabama-2022, Hilversum, the Netherlands) was a retired Air Force sergeant with four children, eighteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren (to date). He lived his final years in the Netherlands where he divided his time between working out at the gym and singing with various bands. Benjamin Sims started his business Pathway To The Future in 1997. The company started promoting and selling memberships in a satellite television network called The People’s Network (TPN) at the start of the digital revolution. Later, the business made a shift to Pre-Paid Legal insurance (PPL). Benjamin added self-promotion as a business asset to be incorporated into the business. This move helped solidify his ability to create revenue for himself and helped create a comfortable lifestyle. Thinking about where he came from to where he lived “The Best Days Of His Life.”

RECOMMENDATIONS

“As Ben Sims shares his stories, we see how the events and experiences throughout our lives are stitched together to form the fabric of who we become. As you follow the story of Singing Rumplestiltskin, you’ll be inspired to look through your own family photo albums, talk to your older relatives, and think back on the words and actions of others that made a difference in your life. This book is Ben’s story of family, race, relationships, and the making of a man while living a full life. It will make you want to start writing your own story.”
Michele Odems, CEO and Managing Broker

Singing Rumpelstiltskin by Ben Sims is the most enlightening book I have ever read about what it is like being Black in America. The racism that Ben Sims experienced while growing up in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1940s and 1950s and later joining and serving in the US Military in the 1960s and 1970s is heartbreaking. But he overcame it with his indomitable courage and fighting spirit. Racism still exists, but Ben Sims is an outstanding role model for fighting against it. This is also a story of a loving extended family of various backgrounds and a great story of the music that he has pursued all his life. I really enjoyed reading the book and highly recommend it.”
Ako Shichiji, Manager Administrative Services, WABG Radio International

“I read Benjamin Sims’ book in one sitting: an oral history, which starts with a child’s perspective on the class struggle and racism in the US immediately after WWII. The book continues in the decades that follow, in which Ben shares his experiences as a Black officer in the United States Air Force, and the developments in his family. I was surprised by the various anecdotes, the background of the dap, Tops in Blue, and Vietnam, a period where Ben deliberately does not include all of his experiences in his book. But also his encounters with people who later played an influential role in the American music history. Music is a common thread in his life story, a story in which the developments in the civil rights movement, and its influence within the American military are reviewed. It is a book worth reading and it will help you to better understand the current discussions about racism and the development of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hopefully, with the help of this book, that discussion can be placed in a somewhat broader historical perspective by, and for, current and future generations.”
Jan Rodenburg, Clinical Psychologist, the Netherlands

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter 1 – A Tale of Two Families
Chapter 2 – Moving to Cleveland
Chapter 3 – A School Play, Broken Windows, and a Talent Contest
Chapter 4 – From the Beehive to Alexander Hamilton Middle School
Chapter 5 – From Miles Heights to East Cleveland
Chapter 6 – Getting Stabbed
Chapter 7 – Basic Air Force Training
Chapter 8 – Making Music in California
Chapter 9 – Going to Vietnam
Chapter 10 – Moving to Germany
Chapter 11 – The Dap and a 39-10 Investigation
Chapter 12 – Higher Education
Chapter 13 – Moving to Washington, DC
Chapter 14 – Moving to the Netherlands

About the Author

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