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Dear Friend,
In those mythic years of emigration when all the world flocked to U. S. shores (and most were welcome); when that Great Migration of southern Blacks made their exodus north; when grandparents, great-grandparents, and untold others in that deep long-ago bid goodbye to home and made their uneasy way by boat, train, bus, cart, or hand-me-down shoes (fit'ems, so called) to stake claim to my birthright—likely yours, too; oh, the power of family.  Happy Mother’s Day across the generations!  What a journey it has been.
In my family, the story of my maternal grandmother and her identical twin sister tells the tale.  In 1912, long before my mother and her cousins were even a thought; much less my cousins and me, my grand-aunt, Mabel Carlisle (pictured on the right), left her native St. Kitts for America.  In a year’s time, certainly no more, she’d send for her twin sister.  That was the plan.  Growing up in a relatively privileged Caribbean childhood, she’d known a heady kind of optimism. Not so in the U.S.  Mabel went from having maids to being a maid, then a seamstress. 
Her wages meager, her optimism reframed as determination, she kept to her goal:  to reunite with her identical twin, Myra (pictured left), in New York.  Saving every possible dime, twice Mabel went to the shipping line office―cash in gloved hand―to buy Myra’s ticket.   Twice fare increases thrust her goal just beyond her grasp.  Finally, in 1917, Mabel saw victory on the horizon.  She telegraphed word to Myra: COME.  On August 23, Myra had her long-awaited passport, but not her ticket.  A heartbroken Mabel was again thwarted by another fare increase.  With a world at sea and at war, it took five years for Myra to board the SS Parima bound for New York; five years to step into Mabel’s waiting arms; five years of hard work to save eighty dollars!  Had my grandaunt, Mommy Mabel, not done so, I would not be here to tell the tale.
For the grandmothers, the mothers, the aunts, sisters, sister-friends, and the men who love us; for those left behind in wait on distant shores; for those who dare wonder and wander yet never stray; for the children who make us whole; for the millions of asylum-seekers on the move worldwide this very day,
Happy Mother’s Day to us all!
In my last newsletter three weeks ago, I announced my pro-book, pro-African American history and culture, pro-sanity campaign: 50 BOOKS THAT CHANGED THE STORY OF AFRICAN AMERICA.  Then, technical difficulties intervened; preventing our emails from being sent.   Apologies for the interruption.  Thankfully, we’re back.  At last!  Here's where we left off . . .
With me promising youas a subscriber to this newsletterfree subscription to 50 BOOKS THAT CHANGED THE STORY OF AFRICAN AMERICA.  Inspired by requests from readers like you, this recommended reading list features:
  • a keepsake guide to Books 1-10 (instant download),
  • weekly additions to the list via email (starts Wednesday, May 17),
  • links to books available for purchase for your own collection, and
  • monthly virtual book chats.
Here’s the story in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: “This Architect of Change Is Celebrating 50 Books That Changed the Story of African America.”
Guest: Jodie Patterson
As a record number of Republican-led states enact reckless laws designed to shun and victimize transgender children; with guns being the leading cause of death for American children and suicide close behind; what are parents to do?  Under the guise of “family values” and “parental rights,” some parents are attempting to deny every parent the right to do what needs to be done for the well-being of their children.  As this week’s guest, Jodie Patterson, writes in her exquisite, beautifully-written memoir, “What if the world, for the rest of his life, tells Penelope, 'No'?"  “I realized that it would take my being present, with eyes and heart wide open, for my child to stay alive.”  
Join me for this no-holds-barred Mother’s Day conversation with Jodie Patterson, mother of five, activist, advocate, and author of  “THE BOLD WORLD: A Memoir of Family and Transformation,” for adults; and, “BORN READY: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope” for young readers.
Visit the show page here.
Download the podcast on Apple here.
Learn more about fighting for the rights of transgender children, of ALL people, and the Human Rights Campaign here.

Guest: Denise Woods
With voices of reason and conscience in short supply and our society in desperate need, you’ll also want to hear my interview with Denise Woods, author of “THE POWER OF VOICE: A Guide to Making Your Voice Heard.” 
With all that’s going on, people need to speak up, speak out, and speak it clearly (the name of Denise’s company).  As vocal coach and voice whisperer to Hollywood’s A-Listers, it’s what she does to help actors breathe life into their characters.  It’s also how we can each better represent our own “character” in real life. 

By the way, come June, with Denise as guide, you can develop the power of your own voice when she offers “The Power of Voice Masterclass.” 
Visit the show page here.
Download the podcast on Apple here.
Learn more about Denise Woods’ work and masterclass here.

A Happy Mother’s Day present just for you! #BlackBooksMatter indeed. 

Here’s a chance to see for yourself the gift of voice Phillis Wheatley gave the world as the “Mother” of African American Literature.  Published in 1773, her POEMS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS RELIGIOUS AND MORAL is the first known book by an African American author.  An actual 250-year-old first edition of this work is on virtual exhibit at the Library of Congress here.   (To open to this first page, the frontispiece, enter the number "10" in the box marked by the arrow in the image above.  To read from the actual pages, as she intended them and as first printed in London, keep scrolling right.

* Harambee is a Ki-Swahili term popularized by the Kenyan Independence Movement meaning "let's all pull together!"

Emmy Award-winning journalist, author, historian, keynote speaker, 
Dr. Janus Adams is publisher of and host of public radio’s
“The Janus Adams Show” and podcast.

Copyright © 2023 Janus Adams LLC, All rights reserved.

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