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From the Mississippi Delta: A Memoir

From the Mississippi Delta: A Memoir

5.0 1
by Endesha Ida Mae Holland
om poverty and prostitution to acclaim and self-respect as a professor and a playwright. Now, in a memoir that is by turns funny and angry, this remarkable African-American woman candidly recounts the story of her fascinating life. of photos.


om poverty and prostitution to acclaim and self-respect as a professor and a playwright. Now, in a memoir that is by turns funny and angry, this remarkable African-American woman candidly recounts the story of her fascinating life. of photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Ida Mae" (b. 1944) grew up in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1940s and 1950s. This inspiring memoir, dramatized in an off-Broadway play Holland wrote by the same title, beautifully captures the language spoken in her impoverished African American community. The author vividly describes here her evolution from an unwed mother and high-school dropout into a civil rights activist. Her illiterate, desperately poor mother gave her daughter a love of self-expression and a desire to realize her dreams but was unable to protect her from rape by a white man at the age of 11 or to prevent her slide into prostitution. ("Cat" was the name given her by her street mates.) An encounter with a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), however, led Cat into involvement with the Mississippi voting rights drive. Although she was later imprisoned and her mother perished in a firebombing of her home, Cat remained committed to her work on behalf of civil rights and later left Greenwood to pursue an education, eventually earning a doctorate and adopting the name "Endesha"Swahili for "she who drives herself and others forward." (Oct.)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.45(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.20(d)

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From the Mississippi Delta 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aside from being a celebration of the human spirit, Ms. Holland's Memoir offers a fresh, interesting, and unique glimpse into the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. This focus alone, I believe, renders the book meritorious. Ms. Holland tells the civil rights story from the perspective of individuals born and raised in the muck and mire of Mississippi's lethal brand of white supremacy and racial hatred. Through her eyes, we get a close-up view of what had to be overcome; and, what was required of ordinary folk brave enough to get involved in a situation that could and DID, literally, cost them their lives and the lives of their loved ones. These unsung heroes deserve national attention and recognition if the story of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America is to be told in its entirety. But, if this isn't reason enough to add Ms. Holland's book to your 'must read' list, I believe the author's superior craftsmanship will certainly convince you her work is worthy of the acclaim she is sure to receive once her book gains a wider readership. And, above all, the Memoir is a magnificent read!!!!! Usually, I find it awkward and sometimes unnerving to read books written in a black, southern, vernacular. However, as in the case of Zora Neale Hurston, Endesha Ida Mae Holland writes with such a pure and authentic voice, I found myself falling effortlessly into her rhythm. I'm a voracious reader and the authors I most enjoy are great storytellers. My current favorite is Barbara Kingsolver, and of course my all time favorite is Zora Neale Hurston. Endesha Ida Mae Holland 'puts me in the mind of' both these writers. She also reminds me of Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes & 'Tis). Like McCourt, Ms. Holland transports you back to her childhood and growing up years with such seamless ease, you find yourself sharing her heartbeat through every single experience she lives to tell about. Almost immediately, I found myself caring deeply about her; I grew to love her mother, her child, her neighbors, her friends; and, I found no strangers among those who populate her world. What an exquisite gift of storytelling she has! I certainly hope she plans to write more 'from the Mississippi Delta,' because her talent is as rich and fertile as her source. Obviously, I've become a devoted fan of Ms. Holland and her work ~ a designation I'm hoping you and I will soon share. Who knows, your reading experience with Ms. Holland may inspire you to join me in asking Oprah Winfrey to feature the author and her book on the Oprah Show, as well as making 'From The Mississippi Delta,' an Oprah Book Club selection. I was moved to make this appeal to Ms. Winfrey because I believe we all benefit from an increased national and international exposure to brave and talented women like Ms.Holland. These women are profoundly inspirational and deserving of our applause and recognition.