The Deeper the Roots

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The rise of the visionary young mayor of Stockton, California—with love and injustice, triumph and failure, and a lot of Tupac along the way


“Don’t tell nobody our business,” Michael Tubbs’s mother often told him growing up. For Michael, that meant a lot of things: don’t tell anyone about the day-to-day struggle of being black and broke in Stockton, CA. Don’t tell anyone the pain of having a father incarcerated for life. Don’t tell anyone about living two lives, the brainy bookworm and the kid who can hang. And also don’t tell anyone about the particular joys of growing up with three “moms”—a grandmother who never let him miss church, an aunt who’d take him to the library any time, and a mother who schooled him in the wisdom of Tupac and Biggie.

So Michael didn’t tell anyone his story, even as he beat all the odds—soaring to a scholarship at Stanford, a position at the Obama White House, and returning to Stockton to become, in 2016 at age 26, its first African American mayor and the youngest-ever mayor of a city of over 100k people. Now, he’s finally ready to share where he came from, and where he's going. The Deeper the Roots is a memoir astonishing in its candor and its clarity of vision. Tubbs shares with us his family of badass women, his life-changing encounters with Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, and everything in between—en route to unveiling his bold plans for the future of his hometown, and America.