What Do Mothers Tell Their Children About Race?
In her first book, The Presidency in Black and White,White House journalist April Ryan examined race in America through her experience as a White House reporter. In this book, she shifts the conversation from the White House to every house in America.
At Mama's Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White interweaves a series of stories from iconic figures and key decision makers about what their mothers told them about race and/or what they told their children. This approach combines April Ryan’s personal stories and extensive experience with race from her view at the White House with how her mother talked to her, and how she has to educate her two daughters as a single Black parent in Baltimore.
This book includes true stories from key figures in the racial debate such as:
- Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin
- John Lewis, Congressman
- Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, Secretary of State, Presidential candidate.
- Cindy Williams, actress known for role of Shirley on LAVERNE & SHIRLEY
- Cory Booker, Senator
- Christopher Darden, OJ Simpson Prosecutor
- Michael Cole, Actor best known for role of Pete on THE MOD SQUAD
- Valerie Jarrett, presidential advisor
- Iyanla Vansant, author, life coach and television personality
- Harry Belafonte, singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist
- Barack Obama, President
- Jimmy Carter, President
- Barbara Lee, Congresswoman
This book is meant to shift the conversation on race in this country. By focusing on the teachings of mothers all across this country and from different generations, Ryan is able to remove the raw emotion from the topic and bring it to a much more human, relatable level. “If we can better understand where racial prejudices and negativity come from, we will be better able to create tangible ways to deal with this issue for ourselves and for our children,” Ryan said.
With a foreword by MSNBC’s HARDBALL host Chris Matthews, this book is sure to start a healthy conversation on race issues.
Here’s what others are saying about AT MAMA’S KNEE:
In these racially turbulent times, April Ryan’s AT MAMA’S KNEE is essential reading. Drawing from her experience as a White House reporter and keen observations of black motherhood in the 21st century, April offers a poignant look at the racial challenges our nation still faces. Mothers are on the front lines of racial revolution. AT MAMA’S KNEEteaches us, above all, that mothers in America carry a heavy burden. Their lessons on race and intolerance shape not just the lives of their children, but our communities and nation as a whole.
-- Montel Williams, Former Naval Intelligence Officer and Television Personality
In her latest tome, “At Mama’s Knee,” April Ryan brings a needed and necessary conversation on race to the forefront. That she chooses to tell these precious stories on race through the voice of a mother is worthy of perking our ears to listen. Mothers are the backbone of our society. They set the stage for how we will address the world. And in today’s racially charged climate, there are far too many mothers crying. It’s time that we lean into the wisdom emanating through these poignant expressions of joy and pain.
-- Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor, The Potter's House of Dallas, host the "T.D. Jakes" show.
"Ryan's emotionally-rich exploration of the influences race, identity and family have on our life experiences reminds us just how powerful an imprint mothers make on us all."
-- Vanessa De Luca, Editor-in-Chief, Essence Magazine