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by Mary J. Taylor
Sojourner Truth Press (Dec 01, 2019)
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Book Of Letters is a literary archive of historical, sociological, psychological, and cultural data mined from the lives of early to mid-twentieth century Americans of African descent. It, in the tradition of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series, offers a captivating glimpse into the early twentieth century rural southern United States.

Mary Jestina Taylor, an eye witness and active participant in the Great Migration, shares her evolving perspective of American history, culture, and life in the twentieth century. This series of short epistles evolved as a result of Taylor’s status as an elder. She desired to share her wisdom and life experiences with the next generation whom she believes can empower themselves by understanding the roots of their history and culture. In the fashion of a griotte, Taylor is informative, instructive, entertaining, and sometimes mesmerizing in her storytelling. A conscious observer of her life and times since she was a small child, Book of Letters is Taylor’s contribution to the historical record.

“Every New Year starts for me with a letter from Mary Taylor. These are inspirational letters that give me the motivation to be a better person and to live life to the fullest. That is so because Mary Taylor is one of the most optimistic persons I know. Her letters give us a window to the many challenges she faced and her fierce spirit and determination to overcome them. The person she is now amazing mother, generous friend living comfortably in her stunning home is a testament to her determination and strength. Her letters are also history lessons on the courage and resilience of African Americans. I am lucky to be counted among her friends.” —Elizabeth Nunez, Ph.D. Co-founder of the National Black Writers Conference & Distinguished Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York

“Little gems. These short stories remind me of the superb stories by Grace Paley” —Louise Meriwether Author of Daddy Was A Number Runner

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