Apr 27, 2009

The Delany Sisters

I read an amazing book this past weekend, which I found on the sale rack at Border's for $4.95 Friday night. The title is Having Our Say by Sarah and Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth. It was published in 1993 and I understand there are two subsequent books that I need to get my hands on.

The book is a memoir of these two sisters who lived to be 104 and 109 years of age. They wrote this book when they were 101 and 103. It chronicles their personal lives as two of ten siblings growing up in the past century in America and their family's remarkable achievements in the face of lingering post emancipation discrimination. Their father was born into slavery, but ended up being the nation's first elected black Episcopal bishop, for example.

All ten of the children were high achievers and through education, became members of the small but growing black middle class. Sarah (Sadie) obtained a master's degree and became a teacher. Elizabeth (Bessie) became a dentist and had her own practice. Both never forgot their roots and spent their lives helping the underprivileged.

This book is only 200 pages, but contains a priceless oral history of our country of the 100 years following the Civil War era, and one which I doubt can be found in schoolbooks. I highly recommend it. I'm grateful for this insight. In reading this book, I have truly been gifted.


Wanda said...

I have not read their books...but am aware of who they are...I believe there was even a TV movie about their lives...We can learn so much from personal memoirs...I felt that way after reading "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. I will ask my daughter to bring me "Having Their Say"...she works at our local library! Have a good week Jacquelyn!

Jacquelyn said...

I liked Angela's Ashes too. Its wierd to say "liked" because it was a hard book to read, knowing it was a true story. Did you also read 'Tis and Teacher Man Wanda? Frank McCourt is also quite a remarkable person in terms of his achievements coming out of such a desperate background.

Deb said...

Ohhh I feel like quite the 'illiterate' one here. It seems I've spent most of my time reading Christian books that I've missed some other great literatures!
Thanks for the review Jacquelyn. I'm going to check our library for The Delaney Sisters!!!
Let us know any other good books you'd recommend??

Jacquelyn said...

Deb, Frank McCourt's books might be difficult for you as they are pretty course; in fact I couldn't finish Teacher Man because of that. However you will really like Having Our Say (about the Delaney sisters) There are Christian overtones throughout...Have you read Jan Karon's novels? They run in a series and they truly sweep you away to another place. Very much Christian. I would love to be just like Father Tim!