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Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood Paperback – April 19, 2005
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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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
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.