At Mama's Knee : Mothers and Race in Black and White
Overview - In her first book, The Presidency in Black and White, journalist April Ryan examined race in America through her experience as a White House reporter. In this book, she shifts the conversation from the White House to every home in America. At Mama's Knee looks at race and race relations through the lessons that mothers transmit to their children. Read more...
More About At Mama's Knee by April Ryan; Chris Matthews
In her first book, The Presidency in Black and White, journalist April Ryan examined race in America through her experience as a White House reporter. In this book, she shifts the conversation from the White House to every home in America. At Mama's Knee looks at race and race relations through the lessons that mothers transmit to their children. As a single African American mother in Baltimore, Ryan has struggled with each gut wrenching, race related news story to find the words to convey the right lessons to her daughters. To better understand how mothers transfer to their children wisdom on race and race relations, she reached out to other mothers--prominent political leaders like Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett, celebrities like Cindy Williams, and others like Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, whose lives have been impacted by prominent race related events. At a time when Americans still struggle to address racial division and prejudice, their stories remind us that attitudes change from one generation to the next and one child at a time. Features interviews with: Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; John Lewis, congressman; Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, Secretary of State, Presidential candidate; Cindy Williams, actress known for role of Shirley on Laverne & Shirley; Cory Booker, United States senator; Christopher Darden, OJ Simpson prosecutor; Michael Cole, actor best known for role of Pete on The Mod Squad; Valerie Jarrett, presidential advisor; Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy; Iyanla Vansant, author, life coach and television personality; Harry Belafonte, singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist; President Barack Obama; and President Jimmy Carter.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Journalist Ryans loosely connected series of essays and autobiographical sketches examines what it means for mothers of color to work hard, protect children against a racist world, and find balance among competing responsibilities. In a pivotal passage about the protests over Freddie Grays death in police custody, she recalls that in April 2015, the Baltimore I grew up loving was turned upside down.... I remember driving back from the White House that April evening frantic to get home to my children, Ryan and Grace, not knowing what was going to happen in my community. Ryan, a member of the White House press corps, lends her voice as an African-American mother to debates about divorce, community, death, and politics. Her journalistic chops are evident in her keen eye for an important topic, and she also shows a willingness to stake out strong and even unpopular opinions, such as in her stringent critique of the reclamation and use of anti-black slurs by African-Americans. However, like many works by short-form journalists, her long-form book has a thematic thread but not a dramatic arc. She too often lets others speak for her via interviews with political aides and community activists while holding more personal mattersher mothers death, a family shooting, and her own balance of career and motherhoodat arms length. (Dec.)