From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream Book Review

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From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream vividly recounts the journey of an African-American woman from rural, segregated Mississippi through academia, corporate America, and politics. It is the story of how she triumphed even when, more often than not, the ugly realities of racism and sexism tried to deter her.

From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream Book Review

About From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream

From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream vividly recounts the journey of an African-American woman from rural, segregated Mississippi through academia, corporate America, and politics. It is the story of how she triumphed even when, more often than not, the ugly realities of racism and sexism tried to deter her.

This book tells the broader story, too, of how her life epitomizes what the Civil Rights Act and Equal Rights Amendment have meant and have not meant for blacks and women as she has lived through their maturation during the last 50 years. What better time than now to examine how these two seminal and defining events played out in the life of an ordinary African-American woman who believed in all of America s promises?

What better moment than today to look deeply at the life of a woman who prepared herself and worked tirelessly to achieve her goals only to realize that many lay beyond her reach and that of most women and most blacks. From Liberty to Magnolia shows readers, especially aspiring women and minorities with whom her story will have special resonance how to navigate and ultimately embrace the challenges at every major crossroads and be triumphant.

A Discussion Guide is included for use by book clubs, classes, and group discussions.

My Thoughts

This is an incredible, powerful and moving book written by an inspiring woman. Dr. Ellis has a powerful way with words that draws you into her story, her life, her hopes and her fears. You can’t stop reading her story as she is so many of us. She is honest and her story is raw and heartfelt. She shares many intimate details that must have been hard for her but it empowers women to speak up and out against the same treatment towards themselves.

As a woman, you can connect immediately with her story. We are constantly struggling to make it in the world, always giving more of ourselves and pushing ourselves harder than our male counterparts to prove our worth. You may have felt gender discrimination yourself at some point in your life or you may have felt gender stereotyping. I know for myself having someone tell me what a woman should do or behave like, instantly makes me want to prove them wrong and I have had this instinct in me since a child. She shares so many intimate details from her life, from domestic abuse to emotional abuse in postgraduate education.

She shares an honest and open view of growing up black. Reading her story of being black, the treatment she received (and her family and those around her) is eye opening and shocking. We are talking the 60s, 70s, 80s and more recently. We clearly as a human race have a long way to go in acceptance and understanding. Even though she was treated unfairly many times due to her race and gender, she never let this turn to hate. She could have harboured a lot of anger but instead she fought to change perceptions and build understanding.

From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is a powerful and honest book that empowers and builds understanding. You can find yourselves in many moments of Dr. Ellis’ life and when things feel hopeless she gives you courage. This book should be a mandatory read for all young adults (and adults).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream Book Review

About the Author

Janice Ellis, Ph.D, has been an executive throughout her career, first in government, then in a large pharmaceutical company, later as President and CEO of her own marketing firm, and finally as President and CEO of a bi-state non-profit child advocacy agency. Along with those positions, she has been writing columns for four decades on race, politics, education, and other social issues. They have appeared in a major metropolitan daily newspaper, The Kansas City Star; a major metropolitan business journal, The Milwaukee Business Journal; and for community newspapers The Milwaukee Courier, The Kansas City Globe, and The Kansas City Call. She began her career writing and delivering radio commentary for two years for one of the largest ABC radio affiliates in Wisconsin. Later in her career she wrote and delivered a two-minute spot on the two largest Arbitron-rated radio stations in the Greater Kansas City area. She has also written for several national trade publications, focusing on healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Ellis published an online magazine, USAonRace.com, for seven years dedicated to increasing understanding across race and ethnicity, in which she analyzed race and equality issues in America. The website continues to attract thousands of visitors per year. The site also has a vibrant Facebook page with fans numbering in the thousands. Five years ago, Dr. Ellis launched a companion site, RaceReport.com, which aggregates news about race relations, racism, and discrimination from across the United States and around the world daily. Dr. Ellis also has her own website, JaniceSEllis.com, which houses a collection of her writings and where she continues to write about race inequality, gender inequality, politics, education, and other issues related to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Janice Ellis, a native daughter of Mississippi, grew up and came of age during the height of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. Born and reared on a small cotton farm, she was influenced by two converging forces that would set the course of her life. The first was the fear and terror felt by blacks because of their seeking to exercise the right to vote along with other rights and privileges afforded to whites. The second was her love of books, the power of words, and her exposure to renowned columnists, Eric Sevareid and Walter Lippmann, whose work solidified her belief that the wise use of words is what advances the good society.

Janice Ellis became determined to take a stand, and not accept and allow the conditions of that farm life, or the strictures of oppressive racial segregation and entrenched sexism limit what she could become. She became determined to use whatever talents God had blessed her with and the power of words to help improve the human condition. FROM LIBERTY TO MAGNOLIA is her first book.

You can connect with Janice on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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