Archive for the 'race' Category

Inspiring story of Benjamin Sterling Turner shared in new children’s book embraced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by Matthew Byrne

Neither Congresswoman Terri Sewell nor Benjamin Sterling Turner were born in Dallas County, Alabama, but both came to IMG_1175represent the 7th District of Alabama with fervor and dedication. Turner was born a slave and rose to be Alabama’s first African American representative in Congress. 140 years after Turner took office, Terri Sewell was put in charge of the 7th district, the first African American woman to do so. After the recent publication of The Slave Who Went to Congress—an illustrated children’s book detailing Turner’s early life and political career—Congresswoman Sewell visited Clark Elementary in Selma with authors Frye Gaillard and Marti Rosner and gifted students there fifty copies of the book. Sewell movingly told the schoolchildren attending her program that she “stands on the shoulders of Benjamin Sterling Turner,” who paved the way for her civil service with his bold
FrontCover choice to run for office. This incredible intersection of history reminds us of how important historymakers like Turner and Sewell are; the effects of their leadership can be felt in Dallas County today. The Slave Who Went to Congress—which the Midwest Book Review calls “a choice pick for personal, school, and library collections”—is a powerful account of an impactful life and, importantly, introduces Turner’s remarkable story of bravery and leadership to children around the world.

Clifton Taulbert shares his Invitation with the world

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Ashley Stanaland

The Invitation by Clifton TaulbertClifton Taulbert and his new memoir, The Invitation, have had an exciting summer. By revealing the contrasting worlds of Taulbert’s life — his upbringing in the segregated South and his adulthood as an author and motivational speaker — as well as his own struggles with combining those worlds, The Invitation has caught the attention of readers throughout the country, as well as overseas. Taulbert’s memoir focuses on a single invitation — an invitation that forces Taulbert to face the challenges of his youth and cross the racial divides that his younger self, “Little Cliff,” would have been unable to cross.

The way Taulbert has integrated the challenges of his childhood with the success of his adult life has resonated with many, beginning in Oklahoma, Taulbert’s current home state. Recently, Clifton Taulbert was the focus of “The Trauma of Culture,” a feature story in Oklahoma Magazine that portrays the powerful consequences of the segregated world in which Taulbert was raised, including what Taulbert calls a kind of cultural post-traumatic stress disorder that made him wary to cross certain racial boundaries even as an adult.

Even more recently, Taulbert appeared at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City as a guest presenter and gave readers an opportunity to have their books signed. KGOU, Oklahoma’s public radio, and The Oklahoman covered the event.

Oklahoma is not the only place seeking Taulbert’s wisdom. Voice of America’s Africa54‘s Vincent Makori interviewed Taulbert about his experiences growing up in the segregated South, and the lessons everyone learns from dealing with the events of their own childhoods.

Lastly, Taulbert traveled around the globe to Australia, where the Dubbo Weekender, a prominent newspaper in Dubbo, New South Wales, featured an interview with Taulbert and a review of The Invitation. During the interview, Taulbert states: “When I looked back at my life and recalled those people who were impactful … it was their unselfishness that shaped my journey — ordinary people just like you and me willing to go that extra mile for the life of someone else. It was nothing earth-shaking about their acts — ordinary caring and admonitions driven by unselfishness and consistency. I call them my ‘porch people’ and such people are not held captive by race, geography, or time.”

No matter where it is, The Invitation is a striking and bold memoir that inspires readers to face their own challenges and become responsible for change in the world.

As ForeWord Reviews writes:

“What with the damning convolutions of ignorance, disingenuousness, and angst that shadow so much of the discussion of race in the United States, it is heartening when hope glimmers, as it does when Clifton Taulbert in The Invitation unpacks his defensive prejudicial baggage acquired as an African American child growing up in the 40s and 50s in a segregated Mississippi Delta.”

Clifton Taulbert’s The Invitation is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore.

Tavis Smiley Show hosts Clifton Taulbert to discuss memoir, The Invitation

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Blair Johnson

The Invitation by Clifton Taulbert

Radio host and commentator Tavis Smiley interviewed Clifton Taulbert, bestselling author of titles including the award-winning Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, in early June in connection with Taulbert’s new memoir, The Invitation.

In a smart and engaging interview that you’ll wish lasted longer than its nine minutes, Smiley draws Taulbert into candid discussion about his transformative experience in South Carolina as chronicled in The Invitation. The book recounts Taulbert’s invitation to dinner at a former plantation house, about which he was immediately apprehensive, sharply evoking memories of his childhood as the son of a sharecropping family. Taulbert recounts how upon seeing the old South Carolina plantation surrounded by acres of cotton, he was immediately transported back to his days as a child in Mississippi. “[I felt] the weight of the segregated South on my shoulders as I sat in this car in the twenty-first century,” Taulbert told Smiley.

Taulbert discloses that it took him seven years to write The Invitation as he had to become “very, very honest, open, and vulnerable” with himself. “I had to say, ‘Yeah, I’ve taught at Harvard University, I’ve taught at the Air Force Academy . . . but I’ve also picked cotton, I’ve also slept on a cot that was so small you could fall off of it.'” As he describes to Smiley and also discusses in The Invitation, there is never a moment in which “the lessons of race and place” are not present. Taulbert explains that as a professional man he is proud of his accomplishments and intellectually understands that the world has changed, and for the better. But there’s a daily emotional adjustment to past history that’s required — even when (or maybe especially when) he is as graciously received as he was in South Carolina.

To listen to the entire interview, visit The Tavis Smiley Show’s website.

Clifton Taulbert’s The Invitation is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore.