Patrick Oliver traces his success back to this scene: As a little boy in his home in the projects of Little Rock, he shared the morning newspapers with his parents and his grandfather. Each person grabbed a section of the newspaper and passed the other sections around. He and his grandfather, who lived nearby, shared the sports pages.
Years later when he worked himself up from a low level job to one as a material analyst and senior contract administrator in the defense industry, he remembered those scenes at home. His reading and writing skills allowed him to easily understand systems and write proposals that suggested more efficient ways of operating, thus gaining him attention, respect and promotions from upper management. Oliver never forgot the connection between the rituals at his house and his success at work.
“The success of me being a success in corporate America is because of my reading,” he said. “Our house was full of newspapers and magazines,” he said.
Now a literary consultant, program manager and radio host in Little Rock, he devotes most of his life to developing programs that introduce black youth to literature and the importance of reading and writing well. In 1993, he founded “Say It Loud! Readers and Writers,” the nonprofit that provides opportunities for youth ages 10 – 18 to participate in literary arts activities and events designed to enhance their appreciation for literature as a tool for empowerment. Today, in addition to programs in Little Rock, he has partnerships with programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.