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Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood [Kindle Edition]

Cecelie Berry
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

From a dazzling array of well-known African American women, short fiction, poems, and personal essays that describe with warmth and humor their experiences as mothers and as daughters.

A sparkling anthology devoted to exploring the lives of African American mothers, Rise Up Singing presents the stories and reflections of such beloved and respected artists, journalists, and authors as Alice Walker, Faith Ringgold, Marita Golden, Martha Southgate, Tananarive Due, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Deborah Roberts, Rita Dove, and others. It features original and previously published writings, organized by editor Cecelie Berry by themes—mothering, work, family, children, community, and love—that illuminate the multiple roles of black mothers at home, in the neighborhood, and in the world as a whole.

Rise Up Singing brings together the perspectives of women of different ages, backgrounds, and accomplishments. What shines through in their writings are the hopes shared by all mothers. As Marian Wright Edelman writes in the Foreword: “The mothers writing in this anthology speak in a range of voices. They are joyful, stressed, grateful, ambivalent, determined, disappointed, and, in bad ways and good, overwhelmed. But over and over again . . . we see mothers struggling with the push: striving to give their children their best and to make sure the world gives their children its best, hard as that fight may be.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Berry assembles a choir of voices, both prominent and subtle, to share a lyric rhapsody detailing the triumphs and trials of black motherhood. Included among the choir's ranks are ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, who riffs about the complications of being a stepmother; Marita Golden, novelist and executive director of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, who muses on the challenges of unplanned, single motherhood; and Suzan D. Johnson Cook, who served on President Clinton's Initiative on Race and Reconciliation and presents a complicated solo on the difficulty of dividing time among being a Baptist pastor, a mother and a wife. The usual suspects are present, too, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker and Maya Angelou. Prompted by the events of the Million Mom March in 2000, Berry hopes to inspire women to "refine your purpose and resuscitate your spirit so that you might better know yourself and guide your children." Some stories are funny, such as novelist Jewell Parker Rhodes's tales of her grandmother starting every story she told her grandchildren with, "Down South... IN GEORGIA...." Other contributions are enraging, such as Emmy-winning radio producer Rita Coburn Whack's, which tells of the injustices her son experienced as a two-year-old black boy in the hands of an impatient white caregiver. Always inspirational, this anthology should resonate with both mothers and children.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The 2000 Million Mom March provided inspiration for this collection of poems, essays, and short stories examining the complexities of motherhood as experienced by black women, overlaid with the complications of race. The book is organized into four sections that focus on themes of the iconic image of the matriarch in black culture, the sweetness of everyday life as mothers, the disappointments of motherhood, and the symbiotic relationship between mother and child. Poets Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton, and Gwendolyn Brooks begin each section, setting the tone for the theme as other contributors--Faith Ringgold, Alice Walker, Tananarive Due, and Dawn Turner Trice, among others--plumb issues that run the gamut of motherhood: balancing the demands of motherhood with career ambitions, preparing children for the general realities of life and the specific realities of racism, and the obligations between mothers and daughters. This is an inspiring collection that celebrates motherhood without sentimentality. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 437 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (February 4, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,452 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rise Up Singing , with its storied list of contributors such as Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Maxine Clair and with the foreword written by Marian Wright Edelman, seems well-intended to serve as a celebration of black motherhood, with all of its triumphal victories as well as its copious and devastating defeats. Serving as a brutally honest look at mothering and motherhood, Rise Up Singing's collection of poems, essays and fiction reveal not only a celebration of mothers, but even more so an overwhelming tinge of sadness about motherhood that is incomprehensibly balanced by an ever-present notion of the strict ability to overcome.
With its rich stories and superb writing, Rising Up Singing proves to have the weight and breadth of a true classic anthology that deserves recognition notably for its pioneering role in addressing the need for black women to write about motherhood but primarily for its unapologetic candidness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Stirring Tribute January 14, 2005
RISE UP SINGING is a collection of short stories, poetry, and essays that encompass the many defining roles of black mothers. Cecelie Berry has pulled together a dazzling array of noteworthy writers for this collection, and the result is a read that is as diverse as it is satisfying. The book includes such contributors as Maxine Clair, Rita Dove, Maya Angelou, Edwidge Danticat and June Jordon. Among my favorites was Tananarive Due's piece that described both her relationship with her mother and the journey the two of them took together in an effort to say goodbye to her grandmother and settle her affairs. Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson's piece highlights the need for mothers to juggle their various roles and responsibilities and was one I related to in spite of the fact that I am presently a stay-at-home mother rather than a mom who works outside of the house. Faith Ringgold's "My Daughters and Me" speaks to the difficulties involved with getting through the teen and young adulthood years as a parent. And Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is sure to remind children to appreciate their mothers and to avoid taking them for granted.

All in all, this was an enjoyable collection. While readers may not be able to relate to every piece, there are sure to be several that will call to them loud and clear. I found a couple of the contributions a bit laborious to read, but overall, I enjoyed this collection. The purpose of this book was to pay homage to black mothers, and it not only achieved this goal but went several steps further, by highlighting many of the issues with which mothers contend. Fans of poetry, prose, and short fiction alike, will find something that speaks to their specific reading tastes.

Reviewed by Stacey Seay

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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