Ticket to Exile

A memoir of an African American childhood in the Jim Crow South

At age nineteen, A. D. Miller sat in a jail cell. His crime? He passed a white girl a note that read, “I would like to get to know you better.” For this he was accused of attempted rape.

Ticket to Exile recounts Miller’s coming-of-age in Depression-era Orangeburg, South Carolina. A closet rebel who successfully evades the worst strictures of a racially segregated small town, Miller reconstructs the sights, sounds, and social complexities of the pre-civil rights South. By the time he is forced into exile, we realize that this fate was inevitable for a young man too intelligent and aware of the limitations of his society to remain there without disastrous consequences.

Winner of the PubWest Book Design Award 2008.


“Most black men don't reach sixty, and so, in a sense, Adam David Miller has lived two lifetimes. He's someone we should listen to. For many years he has cultivated a prose style as carefully as one would cultivate a fine wine. This hard work has paid off. The result is a memoir that ranks with the best written by Americans. In fact, I would place it on the shelf next to Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, and Haki Madhubuti's Yellow Black.”

—Ishmael Reed, award-winning author of The Free-Lance Pallbearers, Mumbo Jumbo, and The Last Days of Louisiana Red


“Fast-paced, arresting, sensual, disturbing, and always dramatic, Ticket to Exile sings America from the raw heart of yet another of her darker brothers.”

—Al Young, former Poet Laureate of California


“Complete in its portrait of a struggling Southern family and undeniably powerful in its portrayal of racial injustice, Miller captures a time and a place with resonance, honesty and wisdom.”

Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Adam David MillerAdam David Miller has worked in northern California for four decades as a teacher, writer, poet, editor, publisher, and radio and television producer. He has won many awards, including the Bay Area Writing Project's Teachers as Writers Lifetime Achievement Award. Visit www.adamdavidmillerpoet.com for more information.

Photograph by Cathy Cade