Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders
Jewell Jordan Publishing Announces the Spring Release of its Inspiring New Book, Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders
[Oklahoma City, OK] Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders, the most recent project of Oklahoma-based Jewell Jordan Publishing, is an illuminating collection of true and candid narratives celebrating African American women who have lived their ‘ordinary’ lives in an extraordinary way. Often invisible and certainly undervalued, these women are the backbone of the African American community – as mothers, teachers, artists, business women, trailblazers, activists, wives, friends and confidants. They have met challenges and overcome obstacles – taxing responsibilities, difficult decisions, glass ceilings, racism and hard times – while continuing to move forward, inspire, and achieve. This edition focuses on our Elders – women over 70 years of age – who share their journeys, reflections and wisdom derived from a lifetime of challenges, successes, disappointments, and triumphs. Here, we affirm that the stories of Black women are important and must be shared and celebrated.
Dr. E. Ethelbert Miller writes: “The hands of black women have held not just a race together but a world. The face of an elderly black woman is the face of history. There is wisdom in this book. Every life a story. Every story pointing towards glory as if the North Star was being reborn again.”
In his January 2016 Boston Review article, The Invisibility of Black Women, Christopher Lebron says that “it is increasingly clear that black women are America’s invisible population.” While recognizing that “misogyny writ large” plays a role in this invisibility as it does for all women in America, Lebron makes clear that the reasons are more far-reaching – with racism at the top of the list.
In Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: the Elders, we learn of the largely untold contribution of June Davis and her Spelman College classmates in the fight for civil rights. Lebron notes similar failings in the way in which Diane Nash’s contributions to the civil rights movement were portrayed in the movie Selma, suggesting that “…A fair and balanced black history curriculum would place Diane Nash alongside King, and Angela Davis alongside Malcolm X so that future Americans can fully grasp that neither the desire for liberty nor the fortitude for radical politics are the domain of black men.”
This anthology specifically responds to the invisibility of African American women and their contributions to their families, their communities and the world, in conversation, literature, politics, and the media, by offering a glimpse into the lives of women – Elders – who are women of strength, love, compassion, perseverance and love. It is a significant effort to heed Lebron’s warning that without such stories, “African American future generations will never be able to fully grasp the robust demands of racial equality since they will have been taught that the twenty-three million black women in America are not worth seeing, thus not worthy of respect and equality.” Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders thus does not seek to exclude, but rather is designed to finally include African American women in the discussion of the African American and the American experience.
Meet the Elders
Inspired by a dinner conversation with a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, who shared her journey during the heart of the civil rights movement while a student at Spelman, Stephana I. Colbert highlights the journeys of 10 Black women Elders, including a community activist, a grade-school teacher, a preacher’s wife, and an octogenarian who journeyed from abject poverty to become the first African American woman to attain Senior Executive status in the government agency in which she worked. These are all beautiful women conveying their life’s journeys largely in their own words.
Release Date and Book Launch
Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders, has a March 2017 release date, with book launches scheduled first on March 19, 2017 at the Metropolitan Public Library, Downtown Branch, in Oklahoma City from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm; then in Charlotte, North Carolina, Denver, Colorado, Kansas City, Missouri, Iowa City, Iowa, Bloomington, Indiana and Sarasota, Florida – all locations where the ladies in this book reside. As Benilde Little, author of Welcome to My Breakdown (2016) writes, “Ordinary Extraordinary African-American Women: the Elders is an important testimony to the lives of invisible Black woman. In these profiles, Stephana Colbert illuminates the wisdom, beauty and elegant resilience of ten seniors, many of whom describe themselves as ordinary. We see through their stories that their “ordinary-ness” is in fact extraordinary.”
Stephana I. Colbert is a writer and an attorney. She has written several law review and legal articles as well as short stories, poetry and essays. She is co-editor of Color Him Father: Stories of Love & Rediscovery of Black Men, in which she also contributed a short story celebrating her own father. Stephana is a native of Oklahoma, where she currently resides.
Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: As We Mature – our next book in this series – shares the journeys of Black women ages 45 to 69. Here we get a glimpse of the first story in the new book, Renée Stephanie Gordon, A Wonderfully Good Person. We explore her journey as a child and the relationship with her father that changed dramatically after her parents divorced, to her unique experiences as an educator, and her current role as travel writer. This next book is scheduled for release in Winter 2017.