Sister Power: How Phenomenal Black Women Are Rising to the Top

Overview

"Extensive . . . inspired . . . forty-five of the most recognizable and powerful black women in the country." --USA Today

"This book, about the tenacity of black women, reminds me of 'testimony service' in the true gospel tradition. By showing us the lives of sisters in dramatic leadership roles, Patricia Reid-Merritt gives us all courage. These women broke not only the glass ceiling, but also the brick walls of the old-boy network." --Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant psychologist and advice columnist for Essence ...

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Overview

"Extensive . . . inspired . . . forty-five of the most recognizable and powerful black women in the country." --USA Today

"This book, about the tenacity of black women, reminds me of 'testimony service' in the true gospel tradition. By showing us the lives of sisters in dramatic leadership roles, Patricia Reid-Merritt gives us all courage. These women broke not only the glass ceiling, but also the brick walls of the old-boy network." --Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant psychologist and advice columnist for Essence magazine.

One by one, phenomenal African American women are breaking through the glass ceiling of race and gender bias. Setting political agendas, heading major institutions, and shaping corporate strategies, they are the newest architects of America's future. Sister Power is packed with groundbreaking insight into their amazing life journeys.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this exploration of female African American leaders, Reid-Merritt, a community activist and professor of social work and African American studies at Richard Stockton State College in New Jersey, describes contemporary success stories of black women. Her 45 interviewees have diverse titles, including the president of the National Education Association, Mary Hartwood Futrell; Indiana attorney general Pamela Carter; Ms. magazine editor-in-chief Marcia Gillespie; and the CEO of PUSH, Willie Barrow. Their interesting and inspiring life stories reveal childhoods that, even when economically impoverished, were marked by a nurturing parent figure and supportive black community that fostered achievement and provided a spiritual foundation. The racism and sexism the women struggled against is also discussed. Although Reid-Merritt comments at length on the problems these powerful women have in their personal relationships with men, she does not include the experiences of lesbian African American leaders. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Reid-Merritt (social work, Stockton State Coll.) features the stories of 45 exceptional black women who have risen to the top of their professions. She shows how these women attained their positions and how they are using the power they have. (LJ 8/96)
Kirkus Reviews
A provocative investigation into the lives of African-American women who have achieved leadership roles in American society despite the barriers of sexism and racism.

Reid-Merritt (Social Work and African-American Studies/Richard Stockton State College) interviewed 45 black female leaders ranging in age from 38 to 68. Living and working in large metropolitan areas throughout the US, all of these women have significant influence in the areas of education, business, or justice. Among those interviewed are Gwendolyn Culvert Baker, president of the US Commission for UNICEF; Dr. Josephine D. Davis, the president of York College; and Unita Blackwell, the first black mayor in the state of Mississippi. There are striking similarities among the 45 interviewees. All were raised in strong, supportive families and grew up in communities with responsive schools. This, notes Reid- Merritt, contrasts sharply with the "appealing assumption that children growing up alienated from society, without strong parental and school support, can still become high-level achievers if they try hard enough." Another link among these figures is the strong role that the church and spirituality play in their lives. Each of the women interviewed had been active in a church as a child and each claimed that she owed a huge debt to the church. A state cabinet member remarked, "Nearly everybody up in the governor's cabinet has to go to doctors, psychiatrists, they have to take pills . . . All I do is read my Bible . . . I never worry . . . That's how I get through." Moreover, each of these women felt relatively free of the traditional pressure to find a mate, focusing her energies instead on excelling: "No matter what the job was, they knew their performance had to be superlative."

Straightforward and insightful, Reid-Merritt's study offers valuable insights into a significant subject.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471193555
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/2/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICIA REID-MERRITT, D.S.W.(Hamilton Township, New Jersey) is Professor of Social Work and African American Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Inspiration.

Sisters in Charge.

"The Child That Be Talkin'." I Can Tell You the Exact Moment.

Coming of Age.

A Hard Road Up.

Leap to the Top.

"Mama Never Said There'd Be Days Like This." We've Come This Far by Faith.

Sister Power.

Coming Full Circle: Messages to Our Sisters.

Selected Bibliography.

Index.

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