cover image RISE UP SINGING: Black Women Writers on Motherhood

RISE UP SINGING: Black Women Writers on Motherhood

, . . Doubleday, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-385-50903-9

Journalist Berry assembles a choir of voices, both prominent and subtle, to share a lyric rhapsody detailing the triumphs and trials of black motherhood. Included among the choir's ranks are ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts, who riffs about the complications of being a stepmother; Marita Golden, novelist and executive director of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, who muses on the challenges of unplanned, single motherhood; and Suzan D. Johnson Cook, who served on President Clinton's Initiative on Race and Reconciliation and presents a complicated solo on the difficulty of dividing time among being a Baptist pastor, a mother and a wife. The usual suspects are present, too, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker and Maya Angelou. Prompted by the events of the Million Mom March in 2000, Berry hopes to inspire women to "refine your purpose and resuscitate your spirit so that you might better know yourself and guide your children." Some stories are funny, such as novelist Jewell Parker Rhodes's tales of her grandmother starting every story she told her grandchildren with, "Down South... IN GEORGIA...." Other contributions are enraging, such as Emmy-winning radio producer Rita Coburn Whack's, which tells of the injustices her son experienced as a two-year-old black boy in the hands of an impatient white caregiver. Always inspirational, this anthology should resonate with both mothers and children. (On sale Apr. 13)