Isabella Van Wagenen aka Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Hurley, New York in 1797. She was released following the New York Anti Slavery Law of 1827, however slavery was not abolished nationwide for 35 years. She lived for a time with a Quaker family who gave her the only education she ever received. She became an outspoken advocate of women's rights as well as blacks' rights. In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth.
Sojourner Truth gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio
"I want to say a few words about this matter. I am for woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have borne children and seen most of them sold into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me. And ain't I a woman?"
For the second year in a row Penguin Publisher's (publisher of all six of my literary titles including SUGAR) asked their authors to tell them which books they'd most like to receive this holiday season.
There were exactly 42 authors profiled and not one was an African-American author?
Why is that?
I know for a fact that Terry Mcmillan and Eric Jerome Dickey publish with imprints under the Penguin Group umbrella, but they and others were noticeably absent from the list.
What message are they sending readers? Is the message once again that AFAM writer's are not as important as their white counterparts? That we are second or even third class writers entitled only a marginal portion of the book loving population?
Publisher's Weekly released its Best Books of 2009 list and correct me if I am wrong about this - but there was only one AFAM writer on that list (that I saw) which was Colson Whitehead's book Sag Harbor. (Congrats Colson!) but surely there were other great books published by AFAM writers in 2009, right?
If you thought SEG-BOOK-GATION was a fairytale - the above information confirms that its not a fairytale, but a nightmare.
Pardon me, while I borrow parts of Sojourner's speech to express my own outrage:
"I want to say a few words about this matter. I am for Black writers right to be read by all people of color. I have as much intellect and imagination as any white writer, and I create well written, thought provoking stories that rake the readers heart over coals of emotions. I have written novels to see them published without any support from marketing or publicity and when I cried out with an authors grief, none but God heard me. And ain't I a author?"
Causes Bernice McFadden Supports
Hurston Wright Foundation
Girls Write Now
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)