Anderson shares lessons learned growing up in Opp through autobiography

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Inspired by the challenges of life, Bridges Anderson has written his first book “Still in the Projects?” as an autobiography detailing his early days of growing up in Opp.

There were a few reasons Anderson chose to write an autobiography for his first book.

“I embrace challenges because they bring about growth and build resiliency. Much can be gained from challenges such as humility, compassion, self-awareness, knowledge, improvement, and more. Each of these is a stepping-stone to becoming a better person and building a foundation for success. From childhood and throughout life, I’ve had people try to determine my path by trying to persuade me or steer me in a direction they felt I needed to go based upon my skin color. I share those stories in my book but just stayed focused and worked hard through adversities and made the best of life situations,” he said.

According to Anderson, his book details the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences he encountered in the housing projects of Opp and in the community. “I learned I had repressed memories, but I’m grateful to be able to face those unpleasant events and experiences. It also allows me to share the good times with my family, friends, and others who would like to read my story.”

Having an opportunity to write a book brought much gratitude and satisfaction to him.

“I am grateful for what I have and to live in a country where I can explore opportunities and work towards achieving goals I set for myself. Even though I may not have the same opportunities as others, I still continually set goals and strive to better myself daily.”

The title came about from his reflections in the past and using those experiences as motivation.

“Living in the housing projects equipped me with strong values. It created a strong foundation for how I live today. Families residing in the projects were about the same in economic and social status. When one family was in need, we all were in need. We worked together to help each other. I learned at an early age simple courtesies such as ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir.’ I was taught to give up my seat for a female who was standing, to respect people in authority, and to avoid getting caught up in the judicial system,” Anderson said.

He added that he witnessed his father work three jobs, but it was only enough money to rent a small apartment. The integration at Opp City Schools was something else he witnessed. These memories are also a part of his story. “Those values I learned are embedded deep within and are an integral part of my life today. I credit my childhood disappointments, failures, and challenges for shaping my life and making me a better person.”

Anderson’s goals with the book are to make conversation and even exchange stories.

“I hope it will ignite a desire for others to reflect upon their lives and record their story. Throughout our lives, we replay our memories. My favorite athlete is Michael Jordan. As a freshman in college, Jordan played with North Carolina and competed in the national championship against Georgetown. His last-minute shot put Carolina up, and they went on to win the game. I’m quite sure that game and that shot are still etched in his memory,” he said.

He hopes the characters will allow its readers to recall and reflect on both experiences and memories. He wants the contents to be an inspiration to others.

“I hope people will look at the good, the bad, and the ugly, and recognize those experiences as an opportunity to do better and be better. No matter how big or small our life experiences are, there’s always an opportunity to grow and become better. I just want people to know that an address does not define who you are or who you can become.”

As someone who loves people, he feels blessed to have had so many help him throughout his life.

“I would like ‘Still in the Projects?’ to send a powerful inspirational message to those who encouraged me to go to college, to dream big, to help others, and most importantly, to put God first. To all those individuals, the best is yet to come,” Anderson said.

The book is currently available for purchase through a link found on his Bridges D Anderson Facebook page. He is currently working on an updated process for individuals to purchase and planning to have a book signing one day in Andalusia.

Anderson thanked several individuals for helping make his first book possible.

“My credit is to God, family, and friends, especially those families I grew up with in the housing projects in Opp and in the Opp and Andalusia communities. I thank Opp City Schools, the LBWCC Upward Bound Program, and the people of Andalusia for being a part of my journey. A special thanks goes to Dr. Patricia Williams Shuford who navigated the book process through editing and marketing as well as Deborah Robinson with Rankin Publishing Company,” he said.

He is currently the head girls’ and boys’ basketball coach at McKenzie High School and serves on the City of Andalusia’s Utilities Board. His wife, Cassandra, is the principal at Straughn Middle School.

Anderson will be signing copies of his book Sunday, April 30, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Andalusia Public Library. Books will also be available for purchase.