From the Mississippi Delta

Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-81011-9
""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.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 318 pages - 978-1-55652-341-0
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