Twin Cities: My Life as a Black Cop and a Championship Coach (Hardcover)
A Black Minneapolis cop and inner-city football coach faces racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd inflames his city and forces him to explore the tensions in the neighborhood where he grew up.
Charles Adams is a product of the Minneapolis’s North Side, the city’s poorest neighborhood, and of North High, the state’s poorest school. After graduation he joined the Minneapolis Police Department, overcoming racial prejudice within its ranks to become his alma mater’s resource officer. North High was in rapid decline, a building designed for 1,700 students down to about 200. Once the centerpiece of the community, the school was on the verge of folding. Then something magical happened.
Adams stepped in as football coach, and transformed a winless team into state champions. With that success came renewed pride in the school and neighborhood both. As North High began to thrive, Adams was hailed as a model of what a Black man from a Black neighborhood might be. That lasted until Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, which brought a rain of chaos upon Minneapolis. Working to maintain order in a riotous city, Adams feared for his life, his relationship to his community forever changed.
The memoir of a life divided, Twin Cities is the story of what happens when a man gives everything to his city in an effort to help kids envision a better future, only to have his city turn on him in response. Adams navigates the space between reality and perception, between law and justice, with the insight and wisdom he has gained from his unique experience.
About the Author
Charles Adams is the head coach of the North Minneapolis Community High School football team, and director of team security for the Minnesota Twins. In 2016, his North High Polars became the first Minneapolis public school to win a state championship since 1976, while Adams became the state’s first Black coach to achieve the honor. Adams spent twenty years with the Minneapolis Police Department, retiring after Minneapolis Public Schools ended its contract with MPD and eliminated Adams’s position as a school resource officer. His story has been featured on HBO’s Real Sports, in the New York Times, on National Public Radio, and in Showtime’s four-part miniseries, Boys in Blue. He was a featured speaker at the 2021 Aspen Ideas Institute. He lives just north of Minneapolis.
Jason Turbow is the author of the bestselling The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls; Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic, about the Swingin’ A’s of the 1970s; and They Bled Blue, about the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among many publications.
“Engaging account of grappling with inequities as a Black police officer and football coach….Adams raises awareness about the conflicting linkages among policing, athletics, and ideals of manhood in Black communities…. His examination of the Minneapolis police department is unsparing….While his unsettling experiences as a police officer are revelatory—particularly the Floyd killing’s grim aftermath, including riots and an exodus of Black officers—the heart of the narrative lies in the author’s exploration of the holistic and communication aspects of building championship teams…. Adams conveys a strong understanding of the cultural resilience of Black communities. The writing style is approachable, mordant, and sometimes funny or profane….A valuable perspective on the challenges facing both police and ordinary citizens in places like Minneapolis.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A book that is going to stay with me for a long time….The opening section of this book had me in tears.”—“Drivetime with DeRusha” podcast