Doc is Quan’s tutor in prison. He taught Justyce at a private high school in Atlanta, which is how he ended up becoming Quan’s tutor. Doc is an African American man with piercing green eyes, and Quan finds him annoying at first. Doc uses academic language and asks Quan to think about things that are difficult or complex, such as how the United States fails to uphold its ideals. Eventually, Doc becomes one of Quan’s most trusted and valued supporters. From this position, Doc is able to ask Quan questions and give him assignments that ask Quan to reflect on his identity. One of the most important ways that Doc does this is by assigning Quan classic 20th century novels like Native Son and Catch-22, and by getting Quan interested in poetry. It’s Doc’s questions that ultimately lead Quan to confess to Justyce that he didn’t kill Officer Castillo. At one point, Doc asks if Quan is a “killer” in an attempt to pry into Quan’s intent when he fired his gun. But once Quan feels secure in the support of Doc and his other mentors, Quan feels safe telling the truth and saying that he’s not a killer. Doc continues to support Quan through achieving his high school diploma while in prison and even opens up his home to Quan following his release. Quan spends several months with Doc and Doc’s husband, which gives Quan the opportunity to observe two happy, successful Black men at close range. And given how much Quan loves academics, reading, and eventually working for Doc’s tutoring service, Doc becomes a major role model. He shows Quan what’s possible if he continues to pursue academics.
Doc Character Timeline in Dear Justyce
The timeline below shows where the character Doc appears in Dear Justyce. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...stack of graphic novels featuring Black superheroes. He also thanks Justyce for his other “gift”: Doc, who’s now Quan’s teacher. Doc was annoying at first, but he’s pretty cool. He asks... (full context)
April 24; Snapshot: A Postscript (Present Day)
Chapter 8: Deal
...more than he ever expected. Quan asks Justyce for advice. He’s sending this letter with Doc, since he knows Justyce is home from school now. Quan asks that Justyce respond promptly—he... (full context)
Snapshot: Two Boys, a Girl, a Teacher, a Lawyer, and a Case Management Intern in a Basement
...this time, a “young (almost) man’s freedom is on the line.” Justyce thanks Attorney Friedman, Doc, Liberty, Jared, and SJ for coming. He lays out the facts: Quan has been incarcerated... (full context)
Chapter 9: Dawg
Snapshot: A Black Boy (and a White Boy) Visits a Black Man (and a White Boy)
Chapter 11: Debt
Snapshot: Two Boys, an Attorney, a Teacher, and a Disgruntled Guard in a Conference Room
Chapter 12: Done
Snapshot: Two Young Men on a New (To Them) Playground
...sighs. Months ago, Justyce shared the story behind the Exactum notice and the fact that Doc is now tutoring the gang members. Justyce works for the tutoring service without pay—but Quan... (full context)