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The “Battle Royale,” a cruel practice among the southern gentry in the antebellum South, saw blindfolded black boys thrown into a room to slug it out until only one boy was left standing. Don Dunbar’s “Battle Royale” came in the late sixties, when his stepfather, who Don called “the meanest man I’ve ever known,” threw him into a room with a much bigger boy. “I got my ass whipped pretty good,” Don recalls, “but my fear of another was put to rest.” The lesson was one of many that would serve Don well as he took to the “killing fields” of Oakland’s drug trade from the mid-eighties to early nineties, where he established a booming operation and built a reputation that remains intact to this day. The brutal death of his brother would usher in a new chapter in Don’s life. But Don would discover that getting out of the drug trade is easier said than done.

Growing Up Oakland is the story of Don Dunbar, L’il Man, and traces his path from childhood to homeless drug user to notorious drug dealer, and finally to family man, minister, and legitimate businessman. It recounts in detail the journey through the underbelly of Oakland’s drug war, with its viciousness and prodigious loss of life, as it ultimately charts a course towards one man’s redemption and service.



Don Dunbar was born in Hawaii and moved to Oakland in the early 1960s. His transformation mirrored Oakland’s own slow yet dramatic cultural shift towards brutality, death and destruction. After escaping the drug world, Don studied at Berean School of the Bible to become a minister, then went back to the streets to help other drug dealers and those at risk of entering the trade. Don has worked for Operation Hope helping the impoverished become homeowners; he also worked with Essence Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Susan Taylor to found a mentoring program for young black men. Don, now a seasoned entrepreneur, heads the Dunbar Real Estate Group.



Edition: 1st Edition -  (Available March 1, 2017)
Format: 6” x 9”
Pages: 300 pages
ISBN (Hardcover): 978-0-9970196-0-5
Pricing: $24.99


Edition: 1st Edition (Available March 1, 2017)
Format: 6” x 9”
Pages: 300 pages
ISBN (Softcover): 978-1-944505-34-9
Pricing: $19.99


Edition: 1st Edition (Available March 1, 2017)
Format: Kindle/ iBooks/ Nook/ PDF/ ePUB
Pages: 300 pages
Pricing: $9.99