Jewels: 50 Phenomenal Black Women Over 50

Michael Cunningham, Author, Connie Briscoe, Author, Nikki Giovanni, Other . Little, Brown $29.99 (213p) ISBN 978-0-316-11304-5

Photographer Cunningham (Crowns ) and popular novelist Briscoe (Big Girls Don't Cry , etc.) honor 50 women, more than half over 60, in this collection of stunning photographs and inspiring personal recollections. While a few have officially retired, none of these women can be described as retiring. "I'm having a wonderful time being exactly who I am at the age that I am," says one, reflecting the general sentiments of this diverse group, which includes a financial consultant, reading specialist, sign language interpreter, tax lawyer, real estate broker and a bookstore owner (Clara Villarosa). Some are familiar (e.g., Ruby Dee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nikki Giovanni, S. Epatha Merkerson), but most are not. Several are involved with powerful institutions little known outside the black community—sororities, women's clubs and service organizations. Tucked into their succinct narratives is a surprising abundance of practical advice about maneuvering between the worlds they have survived and mastered (corporate, military, entertainment, government, entrepreneurial). Some recall hard knocks, having faced deaths, depression and divorce, cancer, a child with Down syndrome and teenaged pregnancy, but all acknowledge the helping hands of parents, grandparents, teachers and mentors. This book will have special resonance for black women, but offers its inspirational message to all. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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