The Ditchdigger's Daughter

The Ditchdigger's Daughter

4.6 6
by Yvonne S. Thornton
     
 

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Donald Thornton was a ditchdigger who wanted more for his six daughters, saying:

"I love you better than I love life," he assured his children. "But I'm not always gonna be around to look after you, and no man's gonna come along and offer to take care of you because you ain't light-skinned. That's why you gotta be able to look after yourselves. And for that

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Overview

Donald Thornton was a ditchdigger who wanted more for his six daughters, saying:

"I love you better than I love life," he assured his children. "But I'm not always gonna be around to look after you, and no man's gonna come along and offer to take care of you because you ain't light-skinned. That's why you gotta be able to look after yourselves. And for that you gotta be smart."

Donald decided to do the grandest thing he could think of: force them to make a success of their lives. Along with their mother, Tass, he cajoled and inspired the girls to succeed while working two full-time jobs to keep them properly fed and clothed. All six became successful, independent, accomplished women: two of his six daughters became doctors, one became a dentist, one a lawyer, one a nurse, and one a court stenographer.

The Ditchdigger's Daughters is the inspirational story of a family with a strong role model who set family values about all else. Donald's persuasive common sense, folk wisdom and right-on insights gave them the skills they would need to overcome obstacles in their paths to success.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The remarkable power of family values as articulated by an uneducated black man and his wife is played out in this loving memoir. Thornton is one of five daughters born to a laborer in a New Jersey shore town who was almost obsessed with the importance of education for his children and the nurturance of their talents. He strictly monitored their musical training, scrimping and wheedling where necessary to pay for their lessons. Eventually the Thornton Sisters Band was formed-a family enterprise whose financial success became the source of the daughters' college tuition. Although only two of the girls fulfilled their father's dream that they become doctors, all of them have successful careers. This picture by Thornton and Coudert (Advice from a Failure) of a black man's single-minded devotion to his family is a tribute to an extraordinary father who transcended racial prejudice to raise appreciative daughters to be independent women. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Library Journal
This memoir describes how, with seemingly unfailing energy and determination, Donald Thornton, working two jobs, saw each of his six daughters obtain an education and become established in a successful career. Using their musical talent, the Thornton girls gave performances for a number of years to help finance their schooling. Donald and his wife, Asker, gave their children the strength to achieve their goals in the face of hardships, not the least of which were racial and gender discrimination. Reader Fran Washington injects a great deal of feeling into the authors' words, bringing out a whole range of emotions, from joy to anguish. This is a warm-hearted, affectionate memoir that emphasizes the importance of family ties. Highly recommended.-Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758225887
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
03/01/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
602,367
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.95(d)

Meet the Author

Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., obtained her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with honors. She is director of the Perinatal Diagnostic Testing Center at Morristown, New Jersey, and an associate physician at Rockefeller University Hospital. She lives with her husband and two children in Teaneck, New Jersey.

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The Ditchdigger's Daughter: A Black Family's Astonishing Success Story 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inspirational!! In these times, when the "work ethic" has gone the way of the horse and buggy, this book about two hard-working parents rises to the level of astonishment. Lovingly strict, focused and indefatigable were Donald and Itasker Thornton, parents of five daughters and raising six girls, with the addition of a foster children. It is truly a heartwarming, reality-checking memoir. Every parent who wants great things for this children should read this book and act accordingly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mairead_McDaid More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, true inspiring story of love, loyalty & perseverence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down once I started it. Even though Mr. Thornton did not have a formal education, he understood people very well and was able to pass this wisdom along to his daughters. I can even apply a lot of this wisdom to my own life. So glad Dr. Thornton wrote the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much when it was first given to me I have been trying to find it ever since for my two girls to read. Makes you realize that no matter what dreams do come through.