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.
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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 BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved