An intimate debut memoir from Mister Rogers’ most endearing and groundbreaking neighbors—Officer Clemmons, the first African American actor to have a recurring role on a children’s television program. “A heartwarming story that explores the power of friendship as well as race, sexuality, talent, and identity.” —Kirkus Reviews
When he created the role of Officer Clemmons on the award–winning television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, François Clemmons made history as the first African American actor to have a recurring role on a children’s program. A new, wide world opened for Clemmons—but one that also required him to make painful personal choices and sacrifices. Officer Clemmons details Clemmons’s incredible life story, beginning with his early years in Alabama and Ohio, marked by family trauma and loss, through his studies as a music major at Oberlin College, where Clemmons began to investigate and embrace his homosexuality, to a chance encounter with Fred Rogers that changed the whole course of both men’s lives, leading to a deep, spiritual friendship and mentorship spanning nearly 40 years. From New York to Russia, Berlin to California, Grammy Award–winner Clemmons has performed for audiences around the world and remains a beloved figure. Evocative and intimate, and buoyed by its author’s own vivacious, inimitable energy, Officer Clemmons chronicles a historical and enlightening life and career of a man who has brought joy to millions of adults and children, across generations and borders.