What Mama Couldn't Tell Us about Love: Healing the Emotional Legacy of Racism by Celebrating Our Light [NOOK Book]


"Mama," writes Brenda Richardson, "you taught me how a black woman could survive and prevail in this world...but because you never learned yourself, you couldn't tell me how to make love work...I don't mean any disrespect, Mama, but...now I have children of my own. And in a loud revolutionary voice, I declare to the universe: the pain stops here."

Clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade and coauthor Brenda Richardson ask their African American sisters to consider this question: ...

See more details below
What Mama Couldn't Tell Us about Love: Healing the Emotional Legacy of Racism by Celebrating Our Light

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


"Mama," writes Brenda Richardson, "you taught me how a black woman could survive and prevail in this world...but because you never learned yourself, you couldn't tell me how to make love work...I don't mean any disrespect, Mama, but...now I have children of my own. And in a loud revolutionary voice, I declare to the universe: the pain stops here."

Clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade and coauthor Brenda Richardson ask their African American sisters to consider this question: "What lessons about love and intimacy were passed down from your foremothers to you?" In this provocative rethinking of the African American woman's experience, the authors suggest that African American women share an emotional legacy that began when their ancestors were dragged in chains to the "New" World and continued as their descendants suffered through the violence and humiliation of the Jim Crow period and later racism. Indeed, they argue, the long shadow cast by these historical events impacts romantic practice, lives can be transformed once there is a true understanding of the power of inherited beliefs.

What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love shows how important it is to grieve and make peace with this brutal history. As you will see in this remarkable uplifting book, it is possible to use the positive messages inherent in the African American experience to create a better life. Learn from the "Sisters Spirits"--well-known African Americans whose stories enliven these pages--as you move toward emotional freedom. Listen to the words of the spirituals interspersed in the text, enhance the coping skills and strengths your forebears harnessed to help them survive and prevail, and believe that emotional emancipation is your birthright.

Mama may not have told you all this in so many words--but there is no doubt that she would want to see you take these last steps toward freedom and abundant love.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061755750
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 762,420
  • File size: 550 KB

Meet the Author

Brenda Lane Richardson, the author of Chesapeake Song, is an award-winning journalist and a noted public speaker.

Essence colmnist Dr. Brenda Wade is a clinical psychologist, a well-known television personality, and a popular public speaker who lectures widely across the country.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was a weekday morning with our children hurriedly preparing for school. My husband, Mark, and I were already preoccupied with details of the hectic day ahead. just as we were about to rush out the front door, our eight-year-old son, Mark Jr., yelled, "Prayer!" and we thrust backpacks and bags out of the way. Arms circling one another, we bowed our heads. This was not the first time we'd interrupted the morning dash to pray, but it was the first time I could remember Mark Jr. being anxious to participate in a prayer. just as we were finishing, little Mark stared meaningfully at me and thenat his dad, and said, "Thanks so much, God, for a mom and dad who love each other." My husband squeezed my hand.

That scene occurred more than three years ago and was just a pause in a busy day, but I will always remember it as the official turning point in my life; after a lifetime of longing for lasting love, I knew we had created it. Mark and I have now been married for fifteen years, but in our early years together, we lost too much time in angry, tense moments.

I'm breaking my tradition of privacy to share details of my marriage, because I want to demonstrate through my personal experiences that a life of abundant love is possible for all of us. Whether you're married or single, lesbian or straight, I hope my story will encourage you to work toward satisfying love. I'm a perfect example of a difficult reality: If you get the love you've been praying for and you aren't ready for it, you can still lose out.

If you are not currently in a relationship, keep in mind that the right person can arrive at any time.When I met Mark, I was adivorced single mother. I'd had the strength to leave my first marriage only after working with a therapist. It was my only physically abusive relationship, but looking back, it seems as if I specialized in dating dysfunctional men of various races.

When I was thirteen, my first boyfriend, Carlos, was the "warlord" of the Chaplains, a Brooklyn gang. Our, times together were fleeting. I remember waiting for a bus to take me to junior high school, when Carlos ran by, saw me, and paused long enough to kiss me gently on the lips and tell me he loved me. When he sped off, I realized he was being chased by several knife-wielding members of a rival gang. Although the men I dated later in life were deemed more socially acceptable, the truth is, after Carlos my lack of self-love only led me downhill. At least Carlos told me he loved me.

I don't have to tell you about the kind of men I was attracted to. (Honey, you've probably dated some of them yourself.) Once my first son was born, though, I became more selective about the kind of men I dated, and aware of my lousy track record, I continued working on my issues in therapy and turned to God for help. I prayed for a highly principled man, one who put his spirituality into practice, and I also asked for my heart to be softened. I wanted to be able to trust a man again.

Many of my friends were scornful and advised me to be happy with what I could get, because "the pickings for sisters were slim to nothing." But I kept on praying, especially weekday mornings. My son's nursery was located in a church that opened at dawn, and I would drop him off before work and rush to the sanctuary to spend a few minutes in prayer. I believe that the Holy Spirit not only hears our prayers, but helps us when we help ourselves. My life changed because my prayers gave me the strength and opportunity to continue learning more about why I had chosen abusive men in the first place.

In 1979, as the editor of a women's magazine, I spent a week in Manhattan. On my last morning there, I had a horrible argument with a male colleague and said some terrible things to him. About an hour later, I realized my feelings toward men in general had fueled my anger. As I'd been doing for many months, I closed my eyes and asked God to show me how to let go of my rage. Opening my eyes, I saw it was only minutes before my scheduled interview, but I felt compelled to find the colleague I'd argued with and apologize to him.

When I found this man, he listened patiently as I apologized, but he also wanted a favor. He had to meet an old school friend but was worried about getting lost in Manhattan. Since I knew my way around the city, he suggested that I accompany him to Grand Central Station. I definitely didn't want to go, and it meant postponing my scheduled interview, but something told me to and I did.

At the stroke of noon, I was standing near the elevated clock in Grand Central Station waiting with my colleague, when I noticed, in the midst of the crowd, a tall, powerfully built, and dramatically handsome man dressed in a clergyman's shirt. I thought, that's the kind of man I need, someone who lives his faith. I was shocked as this stranger suddenly shifted direction, walked purposefully toward us, and extended his hand in greeting. He was the man for whom my colleague had been waiting. And because God always gives us more than we ask for, this was also the man I had been waiting for all my life.

A year later, when Mark, an Episcopal clergyman and academic, quit his job and moved to California where I lived, I introduced him to MY friends, a few of whom had been questioning my sanity during what they called my "heavy praying" stage. As I made introductions, I noticed that one of my friends hung back. When she finally approached, she whispered, "Honey, give me the address of that church where you prayed."

What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love. Copyright © by Brenda Richardson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)