Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa students work on their “I Am” poems.

By Lily Belcher

Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa, an organization dedicated to helping local teens with their education, is publishing a poetry book titled I Am…A Young Black Man written by the local students of Gentlemen’s Quest.

The book will feature the prose and poems written by the adolescents that highlight the struggles and successes experienced by the members of Gentlemen’s Quest. The works give readers a glimpse into the lives of being a Black student and the complexities of discovering their identities.

“I am so proud of our students for channeling their creativity to create beautiful art that serves as a window into the nuances of Black adolescence and celebrates the coming-of-age journey that so many can relate to,” said Tavis Myrick, executive director of Gentleman’s Quest.

Nine local students had their writing published in the book, including Earl Knighten IV and Jamari Mercy from Durant High School, Ronnie Plummer Jr. from Lennard High School, Ethan Eugene and Anthony Ezeanya from Sumner High School, Antonio Taylor from Spoto High School and Miles Jones, Clyde St. Vall and Dominic Cooper from Strawberry Crest High School.

The students were asked to write an “I Am” poem during the summer camp. The poems were shared to the group in a safe environment where the young writers could share their hopes and fears without judgement and with the support of their peers and the leaders of the Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa.

“The original idea was to simply create an avenue that allows the young men to recognize that they have a voice, and they need to use it,” said Myrick. “As I heard the poems, I recognized that these poems were more than just a poem and the activity was more than just that moment. These were their stories.”

The money raised by the books will go to fund their trip to Washington D.C., which will allow Gentlemen’s Quest students to visit the National Museum for African American History and Culture and the American Poetry Museum.

I Am…A Young Black Man will be available for purchase on Amazon and at for $20.

For more information on Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa, visit

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