Book Title: From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream by Janice S. Ellis
Category: Adult NonFiction, 412 pages
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing
Release date: February 1, 2018
Tour dates: March 19 to 30, 2018
Content Rating: G (No sex scenes and no obscenity)
From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream vividly recounts the journey of an African-American woman from rural, segregated Mississippi through academia, corporate America, and politics. It is the story of how she triumphed even when, more often than not, the ugly realities of racism and sexism tried to deter her.
This book tells the broader story, too, of how her life epitomizes what the Civil Rights Act and Equal Rights Amendment have meant and have not meant for blacks and women as she has lived through their maturation during the last 50 years. What better time than now to examine how these two seminal and defining events played out in the life of an ordinary African-American woman who believed in all of America s promises?
What better moment than today to look deeply at the life of a woman who prepared herself and worked tirelessly to achieve her goals only to realize that many lay beyond her reach and that of most women and most blacks. From Liberty to Magnolia shows readers, especially aspiring women and minorities with whom her story will have special resonance how to navigate and ultimately embrace the challenges at every major crossroads and be triumphant.
A Discussion Guide is included for use by book clubs, classes, and group discussions.
From Liberty to Magnolia is the inspiring memoir of a determined woman who grew up in rural, segregated Mississippi and overcame the ugly realities of prejudice against being black and being a woman. I enjoyed reading the author's life story, and I am in awe of all her personal and professional successes despite the obstacles she faced.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part (Finding My Purpose) is all about the author's childhood, her family, her education and the great influences in her life. She describes what it was like to grow up during the Civil Right Movement and The Women's Liberation Movement, both of which fueled her determination to achieve her dream. I found this part fascinating. I grew up in the 70s in Montreal Canada and learned of these momentous events in school, but she lived through them and was right in the middle of where it was all happening.
The second part (Fulfilling My Purpose) is about how she managed to get her PhD with a full course load while raising two small children alone, working part-time, and dealing with an abusive and neglectful husband. She eventually remarried, but only after her sons were teens and she had established a successful career. This part was very much about how she came into her own as a mother, a businesswoman and an advocate. She was honest and forthright about her life, her feelings, and her insecurities, making her someone any woman could relate to.
The memoir follows Janice's life from childhood to current life but it isn't always linear. She refers to and describes past events at different parts of the book, which was fine, although at times I was confused as to the timeline. It matters little though because her story is so engaging that once you start reading you don't want to stop. I enjoyed the photographs of her family and important events in her life, such as when she ran for mayor.
The memoir ends with an epilogue and the book contains (at the back of it) a study guide for book clubs and study groups, appendices, and author notes.
This is an inspiring and memorable account of one woman's journey during America's momentous and turbulent history regarding its black citizens. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys memoirs or reading about black history or about driven women who overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams.
Janice Ellis, Ph.D., has been an executive throughout her career, first in government, then in a large pharmaceutical company, later as President and CEO of her own marketing firm, and finally as President and CEO of a bi-state non-profit child advocacy agency. Along with those positions, she has been writing columns for four decades on race, politics, education, and other social issues. They have appeared in a major metropolitan daily newspaper, The Kansas City Star; a major metropolitan business journal, The Milwaukee Business Journal; and for community newspapers The Milwaukee Courier, The Kansas City Globe, and The Kansas City Call. She began her career writing and delivering radio commentary for two years for one of the largest ABC radio affiliates in Wisconsin. Later in her career, she wrote and delivered a two-minute spot on the two largest Arbitron-rated radio stations in the Greater Kansas City area. She has also written for several national trade publications, focusing on healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Ellis published an online magazine, USAonRace.com, for seven years dedicated to increasing understanding across race and ethnicity, in which she analyzed race and equality issues in America. The website continues to attract thousands of visitors per year. The site also has a vibrant Facebook page with fans numbering in the thousands. Five years ago, Dr. Ellis launched a companion site, RaceReport.com, which aggregates news about race relations, racism, and discrimination from across the United States and around the world daily. Dr. Ellis also has her own website, JaniceSEllis.com, which houses a collection of her writings and where she continues to write about race inequality, gender inequality, politics, education, and other issues related to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Janice Ellis, a native daughter of Mississippi, grew up and came of age during the height of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. Born and reared on a small cotton farm, she was influenced by two converging forces that would set the course of her life. The first was the fear and terror felt by blacks because of their seeking to exercise the right to vote along with other rights and privileges afforded to whites. The second was her love of books, the power of words, and her exposure to renowned columnists, Eric Sevareid and Walter Lippmann, whose work solidified her belief that the wise use of words is what advances the good society.
Janice Ellis became determined to take a stand, and not accept and allow the conditions of that farm life, or the strictures of oppressive racial segregation and entrenched sexism limit what she could become. She became determined to use whatever talents God had blessed her with and the power of words to help improve the human condition. FROM LIBERTY TO MAGNOLIA is her first book.
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