What Is the Book "Mississippi Tears" About?

"Mississippi Tears" is a book of poetry and essays written by Quincy Ruffin. Published in 1999, the collection tells of the humble beginnings of Motown singer David Ruffin, who grew up in rural Mississippi. David Ruffin died of a drug overdose in 1991 after a long and tumultuous career in entertainment.

Quincy Ruffin is the oldest of five children and stepbrother to the famed Temptations singer David Ruffin. Quincy wrote "Mississippi Tears" to chronicle what life was like for the two as they grew up in the deep South, born into a family of sharecroppers. Quincy Ruffin was nearly 12 when David was born in 1941, and their mother died when David was less than a year old.

Life was not easy growing up in Mississippi. According to Quincy's account, the boys were raised by a strict and occasionally violently abusive father, influencing David's decision to leave home at the age of 14.

"Mississippi Tears" details a part of David Ruffin's history that few knew about during his life. Quincy's essays and poetry offer an explanation to the troubled relationships and hardships David faced as an adult and provide some insight on the troubled life the singer was born into.