From a drug dealer to a doctor of US history; the inspiring story of Anton House

As a teenager in the 1990s, he was caught in the gangster life associated with every black community in the United States. Photo: Journal Times

Meet Anton House a doctor of United States history. He earned his doctorate from Howard University, an HBCU in Washington. House was able to do this after serving time in prison for selling drugs.

According to the Journal Times, House’s mother supplied him with “real drugs” to sell so that he wouldn’t be killed for selling “licked off Lemonheads crushed to look like crack.”

“If you’re going to do it, do it. Don’t play because people will kill you,” House recalled his mother telling him. 

The fear of getting killed, the 13-year-old got a himself a gun. He even wore bulletproof vests almost all the time to protect himself. Growing up as a kid, House saw drug dealers in his neighborhood living a life of abundance and he wanted some. They flaunted gold chains and nice cars and all. 

“Seeing this, every kid wanted (that lifestyle),” House told Journal Times. “We identified what represented wealth.”

At the age of 15, House would be at a juvenile detention center, dropping out of High School at the age of 16. When he was 18 he went to prison for the first time. That was in 1998 for cocaine possession. And in 2001 he went back again.

It was in prison and after reading The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams that House’s evolution to a scholar began. Before his first encounter with the law, House said he was so negative and was a bad influence on his friends, getting them drunk and in effect luring to destruction. “I’d try to corrupt them because I was so miserable myself,” he said.

House got his diploma in high school. He then entered the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2007 as a full-time student after being rejected from jobs with no work experience and two felonies on his record, graduating in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in history.

“I was able to utilize my mind to take me someplace, and that’s what I try to impress on a lot of the boys and girls who come from, not only from Racine but some of the lower socioeconomic communities that I work in,” he said. “Your mind can take you as far as you fill it.”

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