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Fire in My Soul

by Coretta Scott King Joan Steinau Lester Eleanor Holmes Norton

Here is the remarkable story of U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton -- impassioned civil rights activist, hard-driving legislator, and one of the most powerful women in American history. They call her the "Warrior on the Hill," acknowledging the battles she's waged as a political pioneer across more than four decades of American history. Perhaps more than anyone else, she has taken to heart Eleanor Roosevelt's famous pronouncement that "every political woman needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide." Joan Steinau Lester shared much of the last forty years with Eleanor Holmes Norton. They met in 1958 when they were both students at Antioch College. Now an acclaimed author, Lester shares her friendship with the congresswoman and tells the story of one woman's rise to leadership. Charting forty years of political and personal challenge, Fire in My Soul shows Norton marching on the Capitol to demand a Senate hearing for Anita Hill; grilling Army generals about sex abuse; arguing before the Supreme Court to uphold first amendment rights, even for a segregationist; and much more. Norton's story is organically linked to Washington, D.C., home to her family for four generations, and reveals why she is now the voice of the city. This fascinating biography, told largely in Norton's words, showcases as never before the many facets of a woman who remains an iconic torch-bearer for the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Scores of conversations with Norton and nearly a hundred interviews with colleagues, family, and friends have made Fire in My Soul a remarkable document of how one extraordinary woman helped to effect lasting change in the ways we interact across racial and gender lines.

Mama's Child

by Joan Steinau Lester

A stunning tale about the deeply entrenched conflicts between a white mother and her biracial daughter.Mama's Child is story of an idealistic young white woman who travelled to the American South as a civil rights worker, fell in love with an African American man, and started a family in San Francisco, where the more liberal city embraced them--except when it didn't. They raise a son and daughter, but the tensions surrounding them have a negative impact on their marriage, and they divorce when their children are still young. For their biracial daughter, this split further destabilizes her already challenged sense of self--"Am I black or white?" she must ask herself, "Where do I belong?" Is she her father's daughter alone? As the years pass, the chasm between them widens, even as the mother attempts to hold on to the emotional chord that binds them. It isn't until the daughter, Ruby, herself becomes a wife and mother that she begins to develop compassion and understanding for the many ways that her own mother's love transcended race and questions of identity.

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