Even Odds: Fighting the odds for Oakland's young black males

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Story by Jill Tucker

It was the first Monday in May, and Thomas Logwood was heading to class.

There were just six weeks until the end of the school year at Castlemont High inOakland, and every week seemed to bring another milestone for the 17-year-old senior. His last track meet was coming up. In a few days, he'd attend prom.

And there was the moment he'd strived after for four years, the reward for all the work achieving a 3.5 grade point average and a place near the top of his class of 140: graduation.

It had not been easy. Nothing was inEast Oakland. For a young black man like Thomas, just surviving the crime and poverty that permeated his daily life was an achievement.

In this city, boys of his race are more likely to miss school; be suspended; graduate late, if at all; or be incarcerated than their white, Asian or Latino peers.

Since 2002, the number of African American men killed on the streets ofOaklandhas nearly matched the number who graduated from its high schools ready to attend a state university.

Castlemont was no refuge.

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