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Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul (Chicken Soup for the Soul) Paperback – August 8, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757305202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757305207
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.3 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are the #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. They are professional speakers who have dedicated their lives to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.

Lisa Nichols, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, is a professional speaker and founder of Motivating the Teen Spirit, LLC, an outreach group for disadvantaged youth. She is recipient of the 2003 Trail Blazers Award, Lego Land Heart of Learning Award, and the Emotional Literacy Award. She lives in Michigan, but spends much of the year in Southern California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Legacy

And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see—or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.
- Alice Walker

Somehow, it just didn't feel right. Maybe it was the way that I was brought up, but it was hard for me to say it. Although I felt blessed and honored to have the opportunity, I just had a hard time saying aloud that I was "a graduate student at Harvard University." After all, I know good and well that I'm just a country girl from Sweetwater, Tennessee, who never saw herself as the Ivy League type, but what impression did that title give people who didn't know me?

I was not alone in this dilemma. Many of my black and Latino colleagues in the Graduate School of Education felt the same way. Several of us had to admit that when we told people we were going to graduate school and they asked where, we answered evasively, "Uh, Boston." It wasn't that we were embarrassed about being smart or weren't proud to be there; it was just that the perception people have of "Hah-vahd," conjured up images of privilege and snobbery. Many of us were first–generation college graduates from lower to middle-class families, and most of us were there because we wanted to give back something of educational value to the underserved students of color in America's schools. We actually discussed more than once whether going to Harvard was an asset or liability when our goal was to return to the neighborhoods we came from, "keep it real," and be taken seriously by regular folks. Would we build a "barrier of bourgeoisie" by having a Harvard degree?

Very quickly it was June and graduation day arrived. An incredibly rich year of reading, writing and discussing educational issues had flown by, and I was standing outside in a processional line with my dorm mates and new friends-so-close-we-were-almost-family from the Black Student Union. I sat dazed in my cap and gown on the same lawn where I'd seen Nelson Mandela receive an honorary degree back in September. I sat in a row of brown faces on the lawn with its giant oak trees that had been there since 1636 and tried to comprehend what in the world I was doing there. While the platform dignitaries waxed eloquent, it felt surreal. I snapped back to reality when it was Hazel's turn to take the platform.

Hazel Trice Edney, graduating from the Kennedy School of Government, was my friend from the dorm and one of the sharpest sisters I have ever met. She had won the speech contest and was believed to be the first African American woman ever to give the graduate student address at a Harvard graduation. Hazel from Louisa, Virginia, who had grown up in a home with no indoor plumbing and became a single welfare mother at age fifteen, had managed to earn her college degree and risen through journalism in the black press, covering politicians like Governor L. Douglas Wilder. She would soon start a Congressional fellowship in Washington, D.C., in the office of Senator Edward Kennedy. Her delivery of the speech was flawless, and we were all proud to know her.

Suddenly, listening to Hazel, proudly watching her represent all of us, it hit me. This wasn't about me. I was there as a representative. I looked up into the branches of the centuries-old trees and thought about what they would have looked like back in 1636. I thought about where my ancestors would have been in 1636 . . . 1736 . . . 1836 . . . even 1936, and how remote the possibility seemed that any of their daughters would ever be at Harvard. I thought about Grandma Mildred, valedictorian of her Cook High class with her career options so limited. No, this degree was not about me at all. This was about standing on the shoulders of my black grandmothers who scrubbed floors and cared for babies—both theirs and others'. Black women whose potential went untapped and whose intelligence was so long ignored. Women whose great minds could have been idle, except they rerouted genius, pouring it into rearing the next generation. This degree was for my grandma, who was a farmer's wife and a housekeeper, but never just that, like so many black women seen only as the shadow domestic by the outside world but who stood out as pillars of dignity in their own communities. This degree was dedicated to a woman who had to sacrifice many of her personal dreams as a young woman, but made sure all eight of her children had a respect for education and would ascend to the level of their own potential. It was dedicated to a woman who passed on heritage to her numerous grandchildren with old Ebony and Jet magazines, her gardens and recipes, family stories and photo albums. I was here because she could not be, but had the self-respect and insight to pass something significant on to her offspring.

Sometimes I still have a hard time knowing just what to say when people ask me about graduate school, but right there in Harvard Yard, I made my peace with it. Grandma Mildred didn't know it, but when I walked across that stage, I did not just get my own degree. I held in my hands her honorary degree in motherwit, holistic medicine, childhood development, home economics, culinary arts and botany earned by life experience. That degree was about stepping up to accept my responsibility to follow in her footsteps and pass something on. Thank you, Grandma, for your legacy.

-Jerilyn Upton Sanders


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I'm really enjoying this book.
S. Simpson
Most of these stories told of tremendous courage and overcoming adversity.
lohmalinda
The stories are uplifting, inspirational and soothes the soul.
Bunny In Philly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Renay Anderson on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
On the pages of `Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul' are stories of women who transcended, transformed, emerged, elevated, developed, and celebrated!

Parents, Grandparents, Marriage, Children, Religion, Friendship, and the workplace have all played a significant role in the African American Sister's journey. This book provides you an opportunity to relate to and understand some of their circumstances.

Some of these true stories speak of their hair, their body sizes, or their economic situations. Yet, each author takes you to the place in their life where divine intervention stepped in and showed them the potential for happiness or success in their future.

The book is artistically divided into sections like; THE SHOULDERS WE STAND ON,

IT TAKES A VILLAGE OF MOTHERS, BEAUTIFUL--JUST THE WAY I AM, and BREAKING THROUGH MY BARRIERS.

The stories are written by celebrities, professionals, historical heroines, housewives, students, retirees, and many others. Yet, the common threads you will find through-out the entire book are sisterhood, growth and healing.

I enjoyed each and every story and found myself thinking of similar times in my life and the African American Women who influenced me.

Reviewer: H. Renay Anderson, Bella Online Mystery Books and BBW Reviewers
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen L. Rush on September 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed reading about the joys, the struggles, the good and the bad of this wonderful culture. Women have many roles, moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives, friends. I have enjoyed reading about all of these roles from personal experiences and veiws of the writers. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys good reading and want to know more about the phenomenal black woman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bunny In Philly on September 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a great read! The stories are uplifting, inspirational and soothes the soul. I met quite a few of the contributors in LA at the Staples Center release and they were personable, touchable and very encouraging. If they can do it, so can you! That was the feeling I got from each of them especially Lisa Nichols. LOL! Buy the book and see for yourself. I LOVE THIS BOOK!

CW in Philly
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Simpson on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm really enjoying this book. I'm formerly an avid reader who recently has been so busy that spending time reading and finishing a good, thick book has been quite a challenge. I like this book because while I'm commuting or waiting in the doctor's office or whatever I can choose at random any of these short, stories and get a quick "pick me up" a little lift in my spirits that gets me through my day in a better frame of mind.

I definitely reccommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Everyone's Sister on October 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Well, this second helping of Chicken Soup for the Afrian-American Soul is for women and everyone who loves them. When you need something to feel good fast, gulp down one of the tasty short stories, seasoned just right. When you want to lift someone up, treat them to this unforgetable treat that they will gobble up. Get ot as a gift for yourself or someone else-- a gift that will keep on giving because of the memorable and inspirational feel-good stories packed inside a beautifully bound cover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Breann on July 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
(Except for the bible)This is the best book i have ever read,it is also a favorite book of mind.Stories are very powerful.This book defientely helps you.The stories are just amazing,stories of black women who overcame,who excepted themselves for who they are,who acting in godly ways.This book is great.It gives you life lessons that you will cherish forever.It is not like some little fairy tale,or a make believe story,these are true stories that will warm and comfort you're soul.The chapter that i love reading about is the chapter called beatiful just the way i am.That chapter right there surely taught me a lesson to appreciate and be thankful for who i am.To appreciate my hair,my lips,my eyes,and my beatiful skine tone.For centuries black people have been beaten down because of the color of their skin,and have not been able to see the beauty that lies within them.So if you need i good book pick up chicken soup for the african american womens soul
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By MDJ on May 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Inspiring stories! Great book! I read a story everyday for motivation! Would recommend this book for women of all backgrounds!
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By Runett N. Ebo on February 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is filled with inspirational stories by and about African American women. It is a great present for mothers to give their daughters to motivate and inspire them. It is a great gift for daughters to give their mothers to thank them.
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