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Pride of Family: Four Generations of American Women of Color Hardcover – August, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a moving, resonant self-portrait of growing up black and female in America, Ione focuses on the three very different women who raised her. Born in Washington, D.C., in 1937, her childhood and youth were divided between a breezy grandmother, a chorus-line dancer who ran a soul food restaurant catering to the racing set in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; a dignified great-aunt, one of the first black women doctors in Washington; and a tough, tenacious mother who carved out a career as a journalist and writer of murder mysteries in New York City after divorcing her husband, a sociologist. Ione, a psychotherapist in upstate New York, writes of her two failed marriages--the first to a quasi-noble Frenchman, the second to "a gay man living a heterosexual life"--which taught her hard lessons of motherhood. Her discovery of the diary of her great-grandmother, an abolitionist and feminist in 19th-century Boston, helped Ione unearth family secrets and finally achieve a sense of rootedness.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this history of her remarkable family, Ione provides an insightful look at black culture. Ione's great-grandmother, Frances Anne Rollin, a free southern black woman in the 19th century, kept a diary which aided Ione in understanding her complex mother, her grandmother, a former vaudeville dancer who owned a popular restaurant in Saratoga Springs, and her great-aunt, one of the first black women doctors in Washington, D.C. In tracing four generations of African American women, Ione conjures up a world of of free mulattoes and privileged middle-class blacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in locales as diverse as South Carolina, Boston, Washington, D.C., Spain, and France. This book is slightly reminiscent of Dorothy Spruill Redford and Michael D'Orso's Somerset Homecoming ( LJ 10/1/88) in which Redford also searched for her family heritage, her roots. Both books belong in history collections.
- Angela Washington-Blair, Brookhaven Coll. Learning Resource Ctr., Farmers Branch, Tex.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Summit Books (August 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671544535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671544539
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,070,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

IONE is an author/playwright/director and an improvising word/sound artist. Her works include the critically acclaimed memoir, Pride of Family; Four Generations of American Women of Color, Nile Night, Remembered Texts from The Deep, Listening in Dreams & This is a Dream! She is playwright and director of Njinga the Queen King, (BAM's Next Wave Festival) the dance opera Io and Her and the Trouble with Him (Union Theater, Wisconsin), The Lunar Opera; Deep Listening For_Tunes, (Lincoln Center Out of Doors) and the experimental narrative film Dreams of the Jungfrau, shot high in the Swiss Alps. All feature music and sound design by Pauline Oliveros. She and Oliveros are currently collaborating with Egyptian artists on The Nubian Word for Flowers, A Phantom Opera. Inspired by the Nubian Diaspora and the life of Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum, the opera is "a deep dream exploration of the Colonial Mind". A specialist in dreams and the creative process, Ione conducts retreats throughout the world. She is Deep Listening Dream Instructor at Center For Deep Listening at RPI, Troy and Director of the Ministry of Maåt, Inc. Both organizations act to foster harmonious world community.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I belong to the "Open Gates" bookclub of Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC. Each month we select a work by an African American author to read and discuss. Sometimes we do not have sufficient copies of any one book and several are selected. This was one of the selections that fell into that category; with limited copies in the system, and I volunteered to read this selection. I am fascinated by self-discovery and love first person writing and narratives. Ms. Ione's book was extremely honest, and I admired her quest for her family's history of their women. She did not spare herself in that quest and the disclosure of some of the most intimate details of her own life was admirable. This is an important book because it reminds us that we are not apt to understand who we are unless we understand what made us, who made us, and those who came before us. Black folks are so involved in the daily struggle to survive, few of us have the luxury of contemplating who we are, and why we are. Thanks to Ms. Ione and all of her "sheroes". She reminded them, as well as herself, that the best of us are only human in our basic needs for affirmation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The truth is I knew I was female before I knew I was black." After reading

the first line of the preface in Carole Ione's book PRIDE OF FAMILY, I was

filled with anticipation of what was to follow. I was not disappointed

because what I discovered was a wonderful account of Ione's family history and

her own told in a voice of someone who was seeking answers and understanding.

Ione's tone and writing is so inviting that you willingly take the journey with

her and you soon find yourself living with the ghosts of her foremothers and

their colorful stories.

In PRIDE OF FAMILY, Ione embarks on a journey inspired by the mystery of the

lives of the three women who raised her -- her mother, her grandmother, and

her great aunt. Each woman was radically different in her view on life, but

they were bound together by a family history that was steeped in pride and

passion. Her mother, Leighla Frances Whipper Lewis, was a journalist and

mystery writer who also acted. Her grandmother, Virginia Wheeler, was dancer

who loved to gamble and was also no stranger to cooking and cleaning. Her

great aunt, Dr. Ionia Rollin Whipper, was a conservative medical doctor in

Washington DC. Each woman lived life fully and with zest according to her own

rules and each taught little Carole a different set of rules which sometimes

confused but in the end pushed her to delve into her family's history.

PRIDE OF FAMILY exposes the vulnerability of this family of largely

accomplished women. Ione also tells the story of the men who seemed to dance

intricately in and out of each woman's story.
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