Thank you to all of you who have shown your support in so many ways for Going to School in Black and White: A Dual Memoir of Desegregation. Today we want to express our particular gratitude for public endorsements received from two people we respect and admire, poet Jaki Shelton Green and from NC State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr. We'd like to thank both by telling you about their lives and their work and how it aligns with our own deepest desire for racial justice that fueled the writing of this book.
Jaki Shelton Green creates art with language that rises from her heart and soul and finds its way to poetry and advocacy for the most marginalized in our society, for community arts, and for everyone else's own creativity. She has written ten books of poetry and received numerous awards including her 2014 induction into the NC Literary Hall of Fame.
She recently published the book, i want to un-die you (Jacar Press, 2017), a long poem to her daughter Imani who pass away in 2009 at age 37. Jaki's grief in the wake of Imani's death left her unable to write about it until 2015 when the words came to her a few pages at a time and ultimately found their way into this beautiful book.
On any given day Jaki may be found reading her poetry in diverse public spaces, teaching at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, mentoring young students or speaking to Planned Parenthood supporters. Not only does Jaki make the world a better place because of the beauty of her words, but she is an activist who uses her voice to speak truths about injustice and oppression and imagines a place where joy and justice are default realities.
Civil rights activism is a family tradition for NC State Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. His father, Floyd McKissick Sr. was the first black student to attend UNC School of Law after a lawsuit allowing him to do so was successfully argued by Thurgood Marshall in 1951. Senator McKissick's sister Jocelyn was one of the first two black students to attend Durham High school in 1959, again, as a result of a lawsuit mandating that the school system allowed her to do so. He and his other sister, Charmaine, were among the first black children to attend North Durham Elementary School several years later when the ruling was also applied to elementary schools.
McKissick received his JD at Duke University Law School in 1983. He was appointed to the NC State Senate in 2007 to replace Jeanne Lucas (a former teacher at Hillside when LaHoma and Cindy attended) who passed away that year. He was subsequently elected to that position. He is currently the Deputy Minority Leader and Chairman of the NC Legislative Black Caucus. Social and racial justice is the focus of much of his work in the NC General Assembly.
And speaking of endorsements...if you have read our book (or when you do), we'd love to hear your thoughts. You can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write reviews on sites such as www.Goodreads.com or other book blogs. If you bought your book online, we are always happy to get reviews on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.