My memoir, "Le Freak"
If you've read my biography Le Freak, you may remember that my maternal grandfather fled Georgia after he'd beaten a white man he'd caught raping his sister. Upon arriving in New Jersey, he saw a Goodman's Egg Noodle billboard outside the Holland Tunnel and appropriated the name believing that people would see him as a "good man." At the time he had no idea who Jewish people were and that Goodman was primarily a Jewish name.
In New York City the black and Jewish communities were closely aligned, especially because of working together in the garment business. My stepfather Bobby was Jewish, worked in the clothing business, and was best friends with my mother's friends as well as my biological father, Nile Rodgers. Bobby's surname was Glanzrock, and my mom's was Goodman.
Around her thirteenth birthday Mom had sex with Nile, and became pregnant. The school system pressured her into giving me up for adoption at birth. I became a ward of the state named Baby Boy Goodman. (Sounds like a blues guitarist.) Within a few months, my mother's maternal instinct got the better of her, she reclaimed me, and named me after my biological father Nile Rodgers.
On September 6, 2012, I went to renew my driver's license and that was The Beginning of A Nightmare.
(To be continued...)
Holland Tunnel to New Jersey circa early 50's
A shot from PBS's "The Jewish Americans" - Women working in the garment district
My aunt Midge and her brother Bobby a couple months after he'd married my mom - who took this picture
My father Nile had a garment district job moving clothing on racks called "Flying Jewish airplanes"
Me & Mom - She was 14 and I was a few months old before her maternal instinct got the better of her and she retrieved me from foster care
I'm finally two steps away of getting a simple driver's license that I can use as federal ID (the way it's been in America my entire life)
The driver's license they issued me a week before my last birthday that no longer allows be to board a domestic flight