RAISING HIM ALONE: Things Black Women Can do to Raise Black Boys to be Men

EMPOWERING SINGLE MOTHERS RAISING MALE CHILDREN


RAISING HIM ALONE: Things Black Women Can do to Raise Black Boys to be Men

By David Miller and Matthew P. Stevens



“Raising Him Alone” by David Miller and Matthew P. Stevens is a must read book for single mothers!" -- recommended by Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations Media Group



Raising Him Alone is more than just a book!  It is a source of inspiration for millions of single mothers who struggle daily with the challenges of raising healthy and productive boys to responsible men.   Raising Him Alone honors the struggles of single mothers raising boys through providing daily lessons that range from talking to boys about sex to assisting mothers with the process of dating.

Many of the statistics on Black men and boys are painful and are often daunting. For example, the most recent report on graduation rates among African American males published by the Schott Foundation indicates that in many US cities African American males are dropping out at rates that exceed 65%. The cities include but are not limited to Indianapolis, Detroit and Baltimore. With the lowest graduation rates in the nation among African American males, Indianapolis and Detroit’s graduation rates can only be viewed as a public health concern. We rarely hear about the countless numbers of mothers who are successfully raising boys alone. The book underscores the need for mothers to be more willing than ever to sacrifice to support positive Black male development. This sacrifice includes developing a greater understanding of contemporary issues that affect Black males as well as getting mothers and fathers to be willing to reconcile old wounds.

The book serves as a voice of reason that tells us how important it is to rescue our boys from failing communities and failing schools. Finally, we hope that Raising Him Alone compels mothers to band together to address the challenges of being a single mother. After reading Raising Him Alone, please make sure you pass this book along to other mothers who can benefit from the lessons and the wisdom of others who have successfully navigated the world of being a single parent.  Visit the website for parenting resources, articles, video inspiration and so much more!  Purchase the book, “Raising Him Alone” here: http://www.raisinghimalone.com/products.htm 



About The Raising Him Alone Campaign
The Raising Him Alone Campaign is the vision of David Miller and Matt Stevens. It is based on Miller and Stevens' collective work to improve the life chances of African American males. Miller and Stevens were compelled to join forces to create an advocacy campaign that focused specifically on supporting single mothers raising boys.

The campaign is based on numerous conversations with local and national organizations on ways to better support African American boys. Additionally, Miller & Stevens hosted a series of focus groups and interviews with single mothers raising boys across the U.S. to determine the successes and challenges which confront these families. Overwhelmingly, mothers indicated issues related to understanding male development, issues with their sons father's and financial constraints as major challenges in their lives.

The campaign acknowledges that nationwide several groups are doing an exceptional job working with African American boys from an academic and social developmental standpoint, however few organizations are working with the parents of these boys.

The Raising Him Alone Campaign recognizes that there has been a total disregard for the voices of single mothers living in urban communities. Such neglect of mothers raising boys has created some alarming trends among African American boys. To this end, the campaign believes that by increasing awareness around the need to connect single mothers to greater access to services (mental health, financial literacy, strategies for parenting a male child and strategies to support school achievement of male children) we can produce more positive outcomes for African American boys.

The campaign focuses on four areas identified as key benchmarks in addressing positive outcomes for single mothers and their sons. The campaign's approach to provide greater advocacy and supporting parents gaining access to community based services. The following are the four key campaign areas:

Health & Well Being (Mental Health)

•Black males have the worst health status of any other race-sex group.
•Black males have the second lowest life expectancy at birth second only to Native American men.
•Black males have the highest death rate from all causes and the highest death rates from cancer, cardiovascular disease & homicides.
•Black male have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections.


Educational Support & Advocacy

•Black males account for 8.62% of total enrollment in the nation's elementary and secondary schools, but account for 21.69% of total expulsions.
•Forty-two percent of all Black boys have failed an entire grade at least once.
•The national average high school graduation rate for Black boys is 47%.


Financial Literacy (African American Community)

•Nearly six of 10 children living with only their mother were near (or below) the poverty line.
•Of the 19 million children of single parents, two thirds live in rented homes.


Reconnecting Fathers & Sons
Children From Fatherless Homes More Likely To:
•Commit Suicide (5 Times)
•Have behavioral disorder (20 Times)
•Drop out of school (9 Times)
•Abuse drugs (10 Times)
•Go to prison (20 Times)

Raising Him Alone (RHA) is dedicated to researching, designing, and implementing a campaign to support the social well being of single mothers raising boys. Through a series of intense community forums, workshops and support group initiatives, RHA seeks to increase access to resources in the areas of Health & Well Being (Mental Health), Educational Support & Advocacy, as well as Financial Literacy.

For more information on Raising Him Alone, the campaign schedule of events and resources visit, http://www.raisinghimalone.com/.   For more information on David Miller, visit http://www.urbanleadershipinstitute.com/.


Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/ 
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Serious Parenting Action Steps by David Miller

Article: Serious Parenting Action Stepsby David Miller


I would like to share with you a fantastic resource for parents that I found on the Raising Him Alone (RHA) website. Here is a wonderfully written article on "Serious Parenting Action Steps." Please take a moment and explore the advice offered by the founder David Miller and staff.  Read the steps here: http://www.raisinghimalone.com/strategies.htm#Question5.  I'm listing just a few below, but I encourage you to go to their site and read them all today.

The Family Unit
•Maintain an open and on-going relationship with your son's father (if possible, all attempts need to be made to cultivate this relationship)
•Surround your son with extended family and friends
•Create family meeting times with your son to discuss your lives

Household
•Set fair expectations and limits with your son - make sure expectations and limits are clear and appropriate for your child's age and ability
•As your son gets older, give him more choices, freedom and responsibility
•Pick your battles wisely. Things like your son's safety and respect must always be a priority
•Don't expect your son to like all of your decisions. As a parent it is your job to make final decisions

Punishment & Discipline
•Talk to your son about consequences and being accountable for his actions
•Make the "punishment fit the crime." Avoid being too harsh even when you are angry
•Be consistent and realize that growing up as an African American male is tough. Oftentimes we are too punitive with our sons.

Teach Your Son How to Act (Time & Place)
•Teach your son by your example what to do, not just tell him what he should do
•Help your son learn the power of solving conflicts- Our sons can not physically fight their way out of every situation
•Distract your son from unsafe activities- prior to age 12, an alarming number of boys get involved in carrying weapons to school, experimenting with sex and drugs

Raising Him Alone is a source of inspiration for the millions of single mothers who struggle daily with the challenges of raising healthy and productive boys to become responsible men. The book is based on hundreds of interviews, focus groups, and discussions with single mothers who are raising boys.

In 1999 Miller co-founded the Urban Leadership Institute in Baltimore, which has developed an international reputation for providing professional development for organizations working with youth to address alternatives to a gang lifestyle and succumbing to peer pressure while promoting diversity and increasing academic achievement.


For more information on Raising Him Alone, the campaign schedule of events and resources visit, http://www.raisinghimalone.com/.   For more information on David Miller, visit http://www.urbanleadershipinstitute.com/. Purchase the book, “Raising Him Alone” here: http://www.raisinghimalone.com/products.htm
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Book Tour: A Slip In The Right Direction with Rachel Berry

A Slip In The Right Direction -- Online Book Tour

Meet author Rachel Berry November 1-7, 2010  at your favorite social network!


EDC Creations and the Sankofa Literary Society are proud to announce the holiday virtual book tour for Rachel Berry, author of  A Slip in the Right Direction. To learn more about Rachel’s virtual tour, visit her online at: http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/

Rachel Berry is a word-fairy that enjoys the craft of words that create and inspire life and people. As an author & poet Rachel feels blessed to have the creative opportunity of expression. Berry is also a motivational speaker, mentor, community leader, independent book publisher, entrepreneur, columnist for SORMAG, and host of From The Heart & Soul Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio. Author Rachel Berry is available for literary events, speaking engagements, tele-conferences, bookclub chats and interviews. Submit all requests to:  rachelwrites2@yahoo.com

She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, adult children, grandchildren, and parents. Rachel puts family first and enjoys life in Virginia. When she's not writing, she also enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, and watching movies. She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.


Featured YA Book: A Slip In The Right Direction
by author and poet Rachel Berry

A Slip In The Right Direction, a coming-of-age story for tweens and teens. The story of life, puppy love, and lessons, as seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old young man coming-of-age in Chicago.

Homesick for his life and friends back home, a family move forces 14 year old Clifton Henderson, aka Slip, to grow up on the north side of Chicago. In his mind, life sucks at the moment and can't get any worse. But it does. A kidnapping by gang members, a crush on a girl playing hard to get, a strict father, a mysterious neighbor, and the gift of premonitions all help take him on a ride of life until eventually he takes A Slip In The Right Direction.  ISBN-13: 978-0982778203   On sale now at Amazon.

 
View Rachel Berry's Online Tour Schedule
Log into your favorite site to join the online book tour. Show your support for Rachel by leaving your comments and reviews on the threads. Tell at least 10 friends about Rachel and her new YA book. Give this young adult title as gifts this holiday season. Remember, Give the Gift of Knowledge! Thanks.


» Nov. 1, 2010 * Day 1 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•Simply Said Reading Accessories blog

•Sankofa Literary Review

•Black Authors Network at Linkedin

•EDC Creations at CafeMom.com



» Nov. 2, 2010  * Day 2 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•Diva Clique Bookclub blog

•EDC Virtual Book Tours

•People's Lounge Discussion

•Black Authors Showcase



» Nov. 3, 2010  * Day 3 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•Black Authors Network Blog

•EDC Creations Myspace Blog

•Short Books Showcase

•Women Supporting Each Other Essence Community



» Nov. 4, 2010  * Day 4 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•Book Club AOL Black Voices

•Single Parent's Circle at Black Planet Groups

•The Sisterhood at Linkedin

•Essence Bookclub at Ning



» Nov. 5, 2010  * Day 5 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•Raising A Strong Black Men at Black Planet Groups

•Parenting AOL Black Voices

•Goodreads at Linkedin Groups

•The Motivation Station at Baisden iSeeColor



» Nov. 6, 2010  * Day 6 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•SORMAG BOOKS at Shelfari

•SistahFriend Book Club at Shelfari

•Diva Readers at Shelfari

•Pen to Pad Writers at Baisden iSeeColor



» Nov. 7, 2010  * Day 7 -- A Slip In The Right Direction Tour

•African American Literature at Shelfari

•SLS Paradigm Shift

•Black 365 Network Blog

•African American Book Club at iSeeColor



» Prizes for Bloggers and Reviewers
We offer special book gifts for those who support the authors during our holiday book tours and to those who respond to the featured tour posts!  To become eligible to win 1 of 5 copies of  A Slip in the Right Direction by Rachel Berry, follow her virtual tour and leave comments at the blog stops and interviews. The winners will be listed on the author's website on December 1, 2010 at: http://www.thecliftonhendersonseries.com/


Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/  

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Gift Book: A Slip In The Right Direction by Rachel Berry

A Slip In The Right Direction by author Rachel Berry


A Slip In The Right Direction, a coming-of-age story for tweens & teens. The story of life, puppy love, and lessons, as seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old young man coming-of-age in Chicago.

Homesick for his life and friends back home, a family move forces 14 year old Clifton Henderson, aka Slip, to grow up on the north side of Chicago. In his mind, life sucks at the moment and can't get any worse. But it does. A kidnapping by gang members, a crush on a girl playing hard to get, a strict father, a mysterious neighbor, and the gift of premonitions all help take him on a ride of life until eventually he takes A Slip In The Right Direction.

Q:: What impact will this book have on readers?
I'm hoping the readers will agree with a few things that I tried to relay:

1. that it's okay to have values and principles at a young age and believe in what you've been taught.
2. You have to give back to your community in appreciation of your blessings.
3. No one is perfect. Parents are also a work-in-progress striving to be the best and to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
4. We must count our blessings and be thankful for what we have.
5. A healthy and supportive family unit is very important at all stages of our life.


Primary message in the book, A Slip In The Right Direction
Everyone expereinces unique challenges and celebrations when coming-of-age. Young men and women need special support during this difficult time in life.


Major talking points from A Slip In The Right Direction

1. Some of the natural occurrences of becoming a young man such as: voice changing. growing facial hair, first kiss, first girlfriend, wanting recognition and to be heard, the importance of friendships, dealing with brothers or sisters, figuring out what one wants to be when they grow up, etc.

2. Parental struggles - parents have to agree on discipline and be able to work together on individual deficiencies.

3. Husband and wife individual challenges – Each parent is an individual dealing with their own challenges and celebrations. Learning how both these components affect the family and marriage needs.

4. Self discovery and improvement – we are all affected by life and situations that shed light on who we really are and what were made of. Each incident is to help us grow

5. Family life - knowing the things that bring a family together or separates them- rituals that celebrate the family unit

6. Helping others and community – the need to back and bless others

7. Getting boys to read more - Giving young people, especially boys, something to read that they can identify with in their everyday life

8. Neighborhood and environment awareness- Realizing how our children are in frequent contact with bad influences and touch situations everyday, as we see in the news with the violence in the schools. Gang members and troubled children are in the classrooms as well as the streets.


Connect with Rachel Online:
Author Rachel Berry's website:   http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/
Book blog for YA Readers:       http://www.thecliftonhendersonseries.com/blog 


Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/  

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Win a Copy of A Slip In The Right Direction


Win a Review Copy of the YA Novella
A Slip In The Right Direction by author Rachel Berry


Audio preview: A Slip In The Right Direction
MP3 File


A Slip In The Right Direction, a coming-of-age story for tweens & teens. The story of life, puppy love, and lessons, as seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old young man coming-of-age in Chicago.

Homesick for his life and friends back home, a family move forces 14 year old Clifton Henderson, aka Slip, to grow up on the north side of Chicago. In his mind, life sucks at the moment and can't get any worse. But it does. A kidnapping by gang members, a crush on a girl playing hard to get, a strict father, a mysterious neighbor, and the gift of premonitions all help take him on a ride of life until eventually he takes A Slip In The Right Direction.

Listen the book excerpt above and leave your comments, along with your email address to enter a drawing to win a review copy of Rachel Berry's new YA title,  A Slip In The Right Direction.  Author Rachel Berry will pull all the comments from her online book tour on Nov. 25, 2010 and announce the winners on Dec. 1, 2010. Please consider giving books as gifts this holiday season!

How To Enter the Contest: To enter the drawing, hosted by EDC Creations Media Group, readers must preview the excerpt podcast and leave a comment of 10 words or more. Three readers will win copies of this book, while the author is on tour. Winners will be randomly selected to receive a copy of the featured book. Winners will be posted on the author's teen blog. Books mailed within 7-10 business days of the contest ending. All prizes distributed by EDC Creations, not the publishers. Your privacy is protected. Email lists are never sold.

Eligibility: To be deemed eligible to participate in this contest, you must be 20 years of age or older and the contest legal in your state. Open only to permanent legal residents of the 50 states of the U.S.A. and D.C. This contest is NOT available outside the United States all federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply void where prohibited or restricted by law. Winners will be notified via email. Books will be shipped media mail 7-10 days after contest ends. The winners will be listed on the author's website on December 1, 2010 at: http://www.thecliftonhendersonseries.com/  and  http://www.rachelberry.webs.com./


No purchase necessary to enter or win.
Only one book per month per household or bookclub. All that we ask is for the reader to post a review online or in the social network of their choice, after reading the book. Spread the word and tell 10 people about the book.


Meet Author Rachel Berry
Rachel Berry is a word-fairy that enjoys the craft of words that create and inspire life and people. As an author & poet Rachel feels blessed to have the creative opportunity of expression. Berry is also a motivational speaker, mentor, community leader, independent book publisher, entrepreneur, columnist for SORMAG, and host of From The Heart & Soul show on Blog Talk Radio.

She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, adult children, grandchildren, and parents. Rachel puts family first and enjoys life in Virginia. When she's not writing, she also enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, and watching movies. She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.

Connect with Rachel Berry, CEO Kimathi Enterprises & Publishing Company
Author Website:  http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/
 
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Excerpt: Justice Older than the Law by Katie McCabe

Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree
by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree

Winner of the Association of Black Women Historians’ 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize for best publication on an African American woman


Justice Older than the Law by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree  is the story of pioneering Army veteran, attorney and minister Dovey Johnson Roundtree, co-authored by Katie McCabe. This is a love song to the black family and a celebration of the eternal values that make it possible to transcend our pain and limitations. Dovey Roundtree is an icon, and her story is an inspiration to all families.

Dovey Johnson Roundtree  is a retired lawyer, an Army veteran, and an A.M.E. minister. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Katie McCabe is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washingtonian Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and Reader's Digest, among others. Her National Magazine Award-winning article on black medical legend Vivien Thomas was the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, winner of three Emmys and a 2005 Peabody Award.



Chapter One, "Walking Unafraid," about Dovey Roundtree's courageous Grandma Rachel, the woman Dovey calls "the greatest warrior I ever knew."


Excerpt: Chapter One: Walking Unafraid

Every evening, in the tiny kitchen of the old frame shotgun house where I grew up in Charlotte, my Grandma Rachel marked the day’s end by a ritual etched in my memory with a clarity that belies the eighty years since then.

She ceased to rush, as she did endlessly in the hours between dawn and darkness, and she commenced to draw water and lay out clean towels and mix an ointment she made of turpentine and mutton tallow. I would stand, quiet, watching her heat the water on the wood stove, pour it into a metal pan, then remove her stockings and hoist her skirts as she lifted her feet into the steaming bath.

Her feet were broken. They were gnarled and twisted and horribly misshapen, with the bones sticking out in strange ways. As she lifted them into the steaming water, she winced. And I would know, though she had spoken no word and given no sign, that all day long her feet had been paining her.

How frightened I was the first time I saw those poor broken feet. I was five years old, and my mother and my three sisters and I had just moved to my grandparents’ home after the death of my father, James Eliot Johnson, in the influenza epidemic of 1919. My grandmother had scooped us up and taken us under her wing, whisking us from my parents’ house to the little parsonage where she lived with my Grandpa. All day long, she hovered over us…Like a tiny whirling dervish she moved, and so, when I first saw her grow quiet, I was startled.

Then I saw her feet, so large and misshapen they seemed to belong to another woman entirely, and I drew back, frightened. Every night after that, I’d look at her scarred, twisted feet, at the skin stretched taut over the jutting bones, and I’d want to ask her what had made them that way. But something in her silence warned me not to.

The day came, finally, as I was just beginning to mature into womanhood, when Grandma took me to her in private and spoke to me of what had happened to her feet.

A white man had broken them.

It had happened a very long time ago, Grandma said, when she was a young girl, just coming into womanhood herself…and she had seen the man watching her with a look that told her he meant to do her harm.

“The slave master,” she called him. He was the overseer on the farm near Henrietta, North Carolina, where her father worked, and when she spoke of what he had tried to do to her, a look of anguish crossed her face unlike any I had seen before or would see after.

“He was meanin’ to bother me, Dovey Mae,” she told me, in the delicate way she had of speaking about things sexual. “I ran and fought every way I knew how. And I hurt him. Then he grabbed hold o’ me and he stomped, hard as he could, on my feet – to keep me from runnin’ for good, he told me. But I kept on runnin.’”

“Wasn’t nothing to do but fight him, hard as I could,” she said. “He wasn’t goin’ to have his way with me.”

Grandma’s mother had wrapped her smashed, bleeding feet in cloth and rubbed them with the mutton tallow and turpentine ointment Grandma would use for the rest of her days. But the bones had been so crushed that her feet were forever misshapen, and so twisted that for a while she could not walk at all. When she did, it was with a swaying awkwardness that late at night became a limp.

And yet, for all of that, she had won. He had not, as she said, had “his way” with her.

I saw my Grandma Rachel fight everything with that same fierceness – poverty, sickness, injustice, and even despair. Like a mighty stream, her courage flowed through my childhood, shaping me as rushing water shapes the pebbles in its path.

###

© Book Excerpt Reprinted by Permission. All rights reserved. Do not repost or use without author's permission

Note: Excerpt used for promotional purposes. Permission given by University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS)


Review from Summer 2010 Women Lawyers’ Journal, posted on MS. JD website
http://ms-jd.org/summer-reading-justice-older-law-katie-mccabe-and-dovey-johnson-roundtree


Review from The Charlotte Observer, August 23, 2009, posted on Black Christian News website
http://blackchristiannews.com/news/2009/08/new-book-tells-of-pioneer-for-justice-women-and-civil-rights.html



» Justice Older than the Law by Katie McCabe
Purchase your copy today!
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 160473132X


Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/
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Road to Publication with author Katie McCabe

Road to Publication with author Katie McCabe


Author Katie McCabe joins us today to share her journey to publication that led to a major movie deal. She discusses her latest book and shares advice for new authors.



Katie McCabe is a National Magazine Award winner whose Washingtonian article on black surgical legend Vivien Thomas formed the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, one of the highest rated original movies in HBO history and the winner of the 2004 Emmy and 2005 Peabody Awards.

McCabe’s 2009 book Justice Older than the Law, co-authored with pioneering lawyer Dovey Roundtree, won the Association of Black Women Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize.

For her work in science and medical journalism, McCabe has been honored with awards for investigative reporting (William Allen White Award, 1991) and public service (National Magazine Award finalist, 1986).


» Book Spotlight: Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree.   Chapter One, "Walking Unafraid," about Dovey Roundtree's courageous Grandma Rachel, the woman Dovey calls "the greatest warrior I ever knew."  Listen to a live reading from Katie here:    http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/WC3S5tj4


BPM: How did you get your start in writing/publishing?
KM: As a former high school English teacher who had always wanted to write, I launched my writing career in 1985 by pitching an article to Washingtonian magazine on the subject I knew best: education. While teaching and tutoring at the Holton Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, I wrote an article on speculation for Washingtonian on selective college admissions and the SAT prep courses that were new on the horizon. I studied the style and tone of Washingtonian magazine and pitched the piece very carefully to that magazine’s particular audience: upscale, educated, sophisticated, well read, and eager to give their children every possible advantage. I was fortunate to sell that very first piece, whereupon I began writing regularly for the magazine, branching out from education and private school topics to lengthy narrative pieces on medicine, medical research, and medical history.
The article that moved my career to another level was an August 1989 Washingtonian article on black cardiac surgery legend Vivien Thomas, “Like Something the Lord Made,” which won the 1990 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing and was optioned for a television movie. The 2004 HBO film that was based on my article, also named “Something the Lord Made,” starred Mos Def and Alan Rickman, and it won the Emmy for Best Made for TV Movie and the 2005 Peabody.
It was named the best movie of the year by the American Film Institute, which called it “a revelation…a bittersweet story that is an important tool for America as it continues to search for a public vocabulary to discuss issues of race.” The HBO film enabled me to secure representation by a premiere New York literary agent and led to a host of other opportunities, including speaking engagements.

KM: In the 14-year period during which the Vivien Thomas piece was in development as a movie, I continued to write for Washingtonian, and I was approached by Reader’s Digest to write for them on contract. While the Digest experience was not artistically satisfying for me as a writer who places great value on style, writing on contract for the Digest provided income while I worked on other projects and embarked on a book, and it helped me hone my narrative skills.
In the 11 years I wrote for the Digest (1989 to 2000), I did lengthy “Book Section” pieces which required not only extensive research but also a mastery of narrative structure and character development within the strict confines imposed by the Digest form. I found that those storytelling skills stood me in good stead when I embarked on my first book, Justice Older than the Law: the Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree, in February 1995, in collaboration with the book’s subject, pioneering civil rights lawyer, veteran and minister Dovey Roundtree. Nearly 15 years in the making, the book was published in July 2009 by the University Press of Mississippi and won the 2009 Association of Black Women Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize for the best publication on an African American woman.

BPM: Did you have any formal journalism training?
KM: I had a journalism minor at the University of Maryland, but essentially I learned the narrative craft by studying fiction and non-fiction, by teaching writing, and then by writing myself in many different markets.

BPM: Katie, what can readers expect when they open a book created by you?
KM: I believe my power as a writer derives from my lifelong love affair with words and literature, my sense of the compelling stories hidden beneath the surface of outward events, and my fascination with unsung heroes. These passions came from my late parents, John and Kathleen Burns. They exemplified for me the kind of nobility and courage I endeavor to portray over and over again in my non-fiction as I seek out heroes and heroines whose lives have profoundly altered our world but whom history has forgotten or marginalized. My goal is to portray these history-makers with the vividness of fiction, and to bring them alive for future generations.

BPM: What are you most proud of as a writer in today’s market?
KM: I have endeavored to pass on to the next generation of readers the stories of men and women who have prevailed over almost insuperable odds to achieve greatness in medicine, in the law, in athletics, and in public service. I believe that my legacy as a writer is that I have brought to life some truly extraordinary examples of the triumph of the human spirit. These examples speak to people of all races and backgrounds about what is possible when one draws strength from mentors and taps into one’s own well of courage, faith and tenacity.

In today’s market, which is dominated by books and movies that glorify violence, brutality and sexuality run rampant, I choose to tell stories that celebrate the eternal values, and I think that sets me apart from the mainstream.

BPM: What advice would you give someone just starting out as a writer?
KM: I would tell young writers two things: first, to choose stories that they consider deeply important, to bring to bear every particle of talent they have to those stories and market them with all the energy they can summon; and second, to operate on the assumption, at least at the beginning, that it will not be possible to make a living by writing. It is possible to succeed in today’s brutal publishing market, but the reality is that one needs a reliable income from a steady job in order to “support the writing habit.”

BPM: What social issues do you address in Justice Older than the Law? How is this book affecting the public?
KM: I have never been a “political writer” in that I have never set out to address any social issues. I am a storyteller, and my goal is to pass along stories that matter, that illuminate lives that exemplify nobility, courage, tenacity, faith and goodness. All truly great stories change the world, and they do so precisely because they come in “under the radar” of our critical sense and move our hearts and minds.

When I set out to write Dovey Roundtree’s story, I did so because I was enthralled with her life experience and with her personal charisma. Having said that, I do believe that Justice Older than the Law speaks importantly to some of the most critical issues of our time.

Contemporary America urgently needs this book. As we contemplate at fifty years’ distance the meaning of Brown v. Board in the light of recent Supreme Court rulings, as we struggle with issues of race at every turn, there is a sense that we’ve lost our bearings.

KM: What is justice? What sort of a society are we aiming toward? How can we capture the values we seem to have lost? How do we arrest what Dovey calls “the demon of violence” that is destroying our cities? To be able to tap into the world view of a 96-year-old living legend who brought her fight into the streets, the jailhouses, the churches, and ultimately, into the hearts of the individuals to whom she ministered, is an extraordinary opportunity, I believe, for people of all races.


Special Note: First Lady Michelle Obama saluted Dovey Johnson Roundtree on the occasion of the book's Washington, DC launch.
"She [Dovey Johnson Roundtree] has clearly demonstrated that even in the face of enormous challenges, an unblinking belief in equality and justice will spur real change. I am inspired by Ms. Roundtree, and I hope that her story continues to motivate all Americans to fight for our shared values. It is on the shoulders of people like Dovey Johnson Roundtree that we stand today, and it is with her commitment to our core ideals that we will continue moving toward a better tomorrow."   ---  First Lady Michelle Obama, July 2009

BPM: What’s new? Tell us about your latest awards and media mentions.
KM: Dovey and I are proud that the book won the 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians, which praised Justice Older than the Law for the way it “aided in connecting with the person and the pathos of Dovey” by its use of the novel format. The judges stated, “Your work enhances our understanding of the importance of storytelling as biography.”

We are also deeply gratified by the fact that law firms in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Hartford and Charlotte have embraced the book and made it a part of their diversity programming. This represents a whole new wave of Dovey’s activism, which neither she nor I anticipated when we set about to tell her story together 15 years ago.

KM: Dovey and I are also thrilled that 30 or more law firms in Washington, DC featured the book at a “Law Night” on Thursday, July 8 for the rising ninth graders at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter school located in Anacostia, where Dovey ministered for 35 years at Allen Chapel AME Church. The Law Night, held at Dovey’s alma mater, Howard University Law School, brought together the Thurgood Marshall Academy students with attorneys and summer associates from the law firms for a program I presented on Dovey and the book.

One of the great crusades of Dovey’s later years in Washington was to find a way to quell the tide of violence among young people, to do what she called “heal the brokenness” in society and especially the black family. This book is part of her healing effort. She believes that her story will point young people to the essential truths that will sustain them amid the chaos of contemporary culture and set them on the path of goodness. At age 96, she is prevented by gravely ill health from participating in these and other book promotion events, but she continues to celebrate with me the ripple effects of the book on which we worked together for so many years.

BPM: How may readers view the photos of Dovey, contact you for more information and to find out more about the book?
KM: Visit us at http://www.justiceolderthanthelaw.com/ ,  the web site address for the book, and there is a link there to email Katie McCabe (at mccabe.kathleen@gmail.com )

Justice Older than the Law by Katie McCabe
Purchase your copy today!
It is the story of pioneering Army veteran, attorney and minister Dovey Johnson Roundtree, co-authored by Katie McCabe. This is a love song to the black family and a celebration of the eternal values that make it possible to transcend our pain and limitations. Dovey Roundtree is an icon, and her story is an inspiration to all families.
Hardcover: 288 pages;  ISBN-10: 160473132X


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Intimate Conversation with author Renee Wiggins

Intimate Conversation with author Renee Wiggins


Renee Wiggins is the owner of Results By Renee, a wellness company based in Maryland. Her mission is to help people achieve optimum health through nutrition, fitness and supplemented with stress reduction techniques.

Ms. Wiggins designs lifestyle programs for individuals and groups. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Massage Therapist.

Listen to various health related coaching sessions by Renee, by clicking here today. 

BPM: Renee, please introduce us to your latest self-help motivational book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle.
RW: Transformations: Give UP The Struggle is a unique collection of affirmations written to encourage readers to break the chains of negative thoughts and actions, to embrace the positive aspects of change and to take the necessary steps to live a happy, fulfilling life. We all have had our ups and down in our lives, some more than others. But, how we end up in the end, determines how we actually see the storms. The storms help us to change to a better and stronger person.

BPM: How did the title of your book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle, come about?
RW: I was searching for a word that would express the idea of change, so I came up with four different titles that embodied that concept and I sent them to friends, family members and colleagues I trusted. With their help, I came up with the word" Transformations", as I thought, that really got to the core to the message I wanted to share. I added the "Give UP The Struggle because I wanted the reader to know in order to transform, one must give up. Thus the title, " Transformations: Give UP The Struggle' was born.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write Transformations?
RW: As a diabetes educator, nutritionist, and personal trainer, I hear a lot about the struggles my client's experiences. And as I've listen to them over the years, I soon began to realize that many of these men and women were in unpleasant, unhealthy situations because they were unable to break bad habits and unable to realize that making simple changes in their lives could make the difference they desired. So I wrote the affirmations in this book as a way of teaching people that their chain can be broken and that they I wrote Transformations" Give UP The Struggle as a way to let people know that just as a caterpillar grows wings and transforms into a butterfly, they too, must also be open to similar evolutionary process in their lives.

BPM: Are the affirmations a representation of your life?
RW: Yes, some of these affirmations come deep within my soul, while others were birthed from the experiences men and women have shared with me regarding their own personal struggles.  I want to reach men and women from the ages of 18 years to 92 years of age, who are entering a storm or going through a storm. The affirmations presented in this book can be a turning point in the reader's life.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems
addressed in this book?
RW: The central themes of my book revolve around encouraging and empowering my readers to embrace their struggle as life lessons that they can move from their current situation toward greatness. I 'm happy to have these themes in the form of affirmations because research has shown that people who recite and /or live by affirmations have a more positive attitude.

BPM: What is your best advice to anyone who wants to be a writer?
RW: I encourage writers to take classes, workshops, travel to seminars, connect with other writers, join groups and most of all, and help other writers without hesitation.

BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
RW: I am currently writing part two of my current book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle. This book will be a collection of stories of people who successfully danced through some of life's most turbulent storms. It s my hope that these stories will provide the strength and guidance others may need to change their lives for the better.

BPM: How can readers reach you online?
Readers can find more info on me and purchase the book at:  http://www.resultsbyrenee.com/.  Follow me on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/giveupthestrugg for diet tips, health tips and more.



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