Monday, March 24, 2014
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years by Sarah Delany, Elizabeth Delany, and Amy Hill Hearth
Dr. A. Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Delany and Sarah L. (“Sadie”) Delany were born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the campus of St. Augustine's School (now College). Their father, born into slavery, was an administrator at the school and America's first elected black Episcopal bishop. Sarah received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University and was New York City's first appointed black home economics teacher at the high sool level. Elizabeth received her degree in dental surgery from Columbia University and was the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State. The two sisters spurned offers of marriage, choosing instead to pursue their careers. In 1960, they retired and bought a house in Mt. Vernon, New York, where they livechd in obscurity until 1991, when a journalist named Amy Hill Hearth tracked them down and interviewed them for a feature story in The New York Times. Ms. Hearth worked closed with the sisters for the next two years to expand her story into book form. The result was Having Our Say, a New York Times bestseller for 113 weeks that was adapted to the Broadway stage and for an award-winning telefilm. Bessie Delany died in 1995; Sadie in 1999. They are buried in Raleigh beside their parents.
My rate & take
Readers Note: Reading smut is great but lately not just any smut will do. I've found myself being crazy picky and actually wanting well written characters with a good plot too. So I've started a few books and turned my nose up at them. My GoodReads reading goal for this year can attest to this as it boldly tells me I am currently 3 books behind for my 2014 reading goal. This never happens to me! But I will catch up before years end.
Review: I first read the Delany sisters book many years ago and it stayed with me all this time, so much so that I knew I had to experience it again. This book is a solidly satisfying read, however it can also be an uncomfortable one. It is one thing to have a general idea of what Colored (a term the Delany sisters preferred) Americans went through during and after slavery was abolished, it's another thing to hear it directly from two people who lived it every day. The shameful conduct of White Americans was unforgivable.
One thing I love about the sisters and their whole family is that they kept their dignity and sense of humor no matter what life threw at them. A true example for us all.