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Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady (Excelsior Editions) Paperback – January 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Excelsior Editions
  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438429185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438429182
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,452,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"You are me. When I look at you, I see me. I see the young African American woman who, through good family values, strong roots, hard work, and perseverance, has come into her own ... Though your journey may not be easy in the coming days, weeks, months, or years, think of us to ease your burden and pain. Think of those who you inspire. Think of those who you have given hope to. Think of those whom you have filled with pride. Think of your sister ... Think of your favorite cousin. Think of your mother. Think of me. We are the same."

"To you Michelle I take off my African woman hat from Cameroon, my motherland. You have given us African women the courage and the hope to move on and up. You keep your head high and hold your husband close to your heart. Keep praying my sister, you are the best. You have lived the dream of every ebony woman. Ride on sister, we are with you."

"You are the song, you are the proverb, and you are the symbol of human dignity."

"When you and your family go to the spot under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, you will take with you our history of dreams deferred; however, you will also take with you our prayers and hopes for an America that is ready to build and dream anew."

"Thank you for your courage to say yes, to step from behind your private veil into the public eye, to step forward with the grace of boldness, to carry a message that `Hope is a wise decision' and also teaching the importance of learning to prepare oneself because with hope, things can change. I sat next to my daughter, praying that all women would tell this message to themselves, their daughters and sisters, nieces and neighbors, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends and sisterfriends, strangers and mates. But most of all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart to remind me to keep being hopeful so I can keep flapping my wings and not be afraid to fly."

"What I really want to say is thank you for existing and remaining visually the kind of woman I've always wanted to be. I'd given up hope. I'd given up hope that Black men could affectionately and passionately adore a woman publicly the way that your old man adores you. I'd given up hope that I'd get to keep my booty and succeed in the commercial production world of NYC. I honestly didn't believe I'd be able to be intelligent and sexy at the same time and be taken seriously ... You two have revolutionized what I believe to be possible in Black life. Black, young, sexy, beautiful, brilliant, and powerful. How marvelous."

"We are one woman, blessed to be born Black in America ... I rejoice for every little girl, every teenager, young adult and yes even every senior, who like me, can look at you and see herself. I rejoice for the mothers who loved their children as much as you and I do, yet could not protect them."

"Thank you for making me reconsider bringing my Black babies into this world."

Passionate, shattering, and tender, this astonishing book gathers together letters to Michelle Obama, written by African American and African women. Shortly after the election, the Uncrowned Queens Institute in Buffalo, New York, sent out a call across the country for African American women to share their hopes, fears, and advice with the new First Lady. Hundreds of letters and poems poured in, signaling both an unprecedented moment in our nation's history and a remarkable opportunity for African American women to look at the White House and see and speak to one of their own there.

These very personal letters and poems, written by African American women from all ages and walks of life, celebrate a newfound hope for our world and children, speak to a strong sisterhood with the First Lady, confess often very private fears and dreams, and acknowledge and remember the generations before who endured so much for so long.

"...the world has long heard of the power of Athenian women. But we have yet to feel and recognize the full impact that black women have had on the cultural and political life of the United States. Those past and living generations (those Uncrowned Queens) will gather mystically at this moment: through the agency of this book ... black women and their men will come out of a dark tunnel and light up the heavens." -- Chicken Bone Journal

"...a wonderful collection of letters and poetry written to our First Lady ... You will feel the encouragement, pain, fear and hopes of women as you read each letter ... This book demonstrates true sisterhood." -- Urban Views Weekly

"Each letter is heartfelt, real, and provides readers with gentle nudges regarding the magnitude of having people who look like them in the most powerful positions in the United States of America." -- A Place of Our Own (APOOO) BookClub

About the Author

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold, a native of Louisiana, is a lifelong resident of Buffalo, New York. She is a retired educator, counselor, and community and political activist. She is cofounder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, Inc., and coauthor of the Uncrowned Queens: African American Women in Community Builders of Western New York series with Peggy Brooks-Bertram. In addition to the Uncrowned Queens, her other passion is family history research. Nevergold and her husband of forty-one years, Paul, have two children, Alanna and Kyle, and one grandchild, Naia.

Peggy Brooks-Bertram is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has lived in Buffalo, New York, since 1986. She is a scholar on the life of Drusilla Dunjee Houston. In 2007 she published a long-lost manuscript of Houston's, Origin of Civilization from the Cushites, for which she received Honorary Mention in the Best Black Books for 2007. She is currently writing a biography on Houston. She is the mother of two children, Lillian Yvonne-Margaret, a poet and photographer, and Dennison Ivon Jean Bertram, an international photographer. Her husband Dennis Bertram is also an artist. Brooks-Bertram is also a community activist with interests in the health care of African American women.

Customer Reviews

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Published in a very timely manner.
D. Malone
The women write their letters which could be compared to weaving a tapestry together to form one large art work but with each artists' unique style and voice.
Four Tusk Njoku
The first one was the letter written by Peggy Bertram.
Jennifer Coissiere "The Tough Critic"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Four Tusk Njoku on January 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Go, Tell Michelle" is a breath taking anthology written by 100 African and African American women from all over the globe. Barbara Nevergold and Peggy Bertram from Uncrowned Queens Institute came up with the idea of getting career women express their thoughts in form of letters to the first lady. The book covers every topic of imagination one could think or have on what a fist lady who happen to be African would encounter.

The women write their letters which could be compared to weaving a tapestry together to form one large art work but with each artists' unique style and voice. The women poured out their feelings, thoughts and actions in a sophisticated manner; while addressing the issues to be black and a woman. The journey black women have travelled in the American society and the world as a whole, the plight of the dark skin black woman such as Michelle Obama and her place in America and world. This breath taking book touches the core of womanhood as the women use words which are soothing to describe discrimination, rejection and neglect in their lives; but with hope in their voices. They see Michelle Obama as a sign of hope for the next genration.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rudolph Lewis on January 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sometimes in the complexities of today's world the simplest acts are disarming, as in Aristophanes Lysistrata when Athenian women by the withdrawal of finances and sex seek and establish peace and health for their war-like sons and husbands. It was grand comedy and a critique of the Grecian mindset. Aristophanes' literary project was stunning. One can say that a current literary project--Go, Tell Michelle--by Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram of Buffalo, without exaggeration, might indeed go far beyond the imaginative work of the Greek dramatist in its social impact in the short term and in its enduring influence on a nation.

In Go, Tell Michelle we have 100 African American female writers--including Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram--reflecting on the significance of the entry 20 January 2009 of Michele Obama and her family into the White House, which one poet has renamed the "Rainbow House." Yes, the world has long heard of the power of Athenian women. But we have yet to feel and recognize the full impact that black women have had on the cultural and political life of the United States. Those past and living generations (those Uncrowned Queens) will gather mystically at this moment: through the agency of this book Go, Tell Michelle I believe we--black women and their men--will come out of a dark tunnel and light up the heavens.

This work pulled together in 34 days by Barbara and Peggy and 98 other black female cultural workers, with the help of SUNY Press, is greatly anticipated. Hopefully Go, Tell Michelle will be available this week and on the shelves by this weekend. It will reshape black female consciousness (as much as Go, Tell It on the Mountain) for many years to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bev Jenai, Artist on February 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Go, Tell Michelle" contains 100 International literary contributions from highly accomplished women (mothers, attorneys, surgeons, artists, and students, etc., of Caribbean, African & African American descent who were so moved by Michelle Obama that united they render support via their words of passions in this book. I was honored to be chosen as one of those women. An example from one of the poet's mantras used in the closing of the book from a Professor/performing classical violist, "So, Michelle...HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH, WE ARE GOING WITH YOU". The book, a MUST BUY, as its history is, and will be invaluable especially to our future generations as it clearly in a beautiful, passionate & narrative way illustrates the challenges/struggles of women of color in the past & present. Yet, through this book, all the women in this book celebrate...we celebrate especially for our ancestors who often had no voice in history...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GDabney on February 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the letters to our First Lady, but I thought they would be from women from all walks of life. Most of the letters came from women who lived in New York, none were from military wives, stay at home moms, office workers, unemployed women, all of whom voted and helped make history on Nov. 4, 2008. Michelle Obama is the First Lady to us all, but the letters selected for the book don't reflect that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
GO, TELL MICHELLE is a collection of letters and poems written by women from all over the world giving their admiration and praise of First Lady, Michelle Obama. This book will take you back to the time just after the 2008 election. GO, TELL MICHELLE is a book that could be a great collector's item for those wanting a keepsake that commemorates in prose the feelings of that time. Women from all walks of life, professions, and continents sent in emails, letters and faxes with the hope of their words being read by the famed Mrs. Obama. The letters were said to be sent in ornate papers and papyrus, scribed in calligraphy and gold, all hoping to encompass the enormity of the occasion. The beautiful introductory remarks give the backdrop of the letters and nicely place the admirations in context.

Many of the letters are similar: praising The First Couple's marriage, admiring the daughters, and expressing excitement of the grandmother - feelings all of us had and still have. This is an endearing collection that captures the effervescent hopes of the world.

Reviewed by Christina Lenear
for The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
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