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Lanterns

A Memoir of Mentors

Marian Wright Edelman

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Description

I am grateful beyond words for the example of the lanterns shared in this memoir whose lives I hope will illuminate my children's, your children's, and the paths of countless others coming behind.--Marian Wright Edelman, from the Preface

Marian Wright Edelman, "the most influential children's advocate in the country" (The Washington Post), shares stories from her life at the center of this century's most dramatic civil rights struggles. She pays tribute to the extraordinary personal mentors who helped light her way: Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Fannie Lou Hamer, William Sloane Coffin, Ella Baker, Mae Bertha Carter, and many others.

She celebrates the lives of the great Black women of Bennettsville, South Carolina-Miz Tee, Miz Lucy, Miz Kate-who along with her parents formed a formidable and loving network of community support for the young Marian Wright as a Black girl growing up in the segregated South. We follow the author to Spelman College in the late 1950s, when the school was a hotbed of civil rights activism, and where, through excerpts from her honest and passionate college journal, we witness a national leader in the making and meet the people who inspired and empowered her, including Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Howard Zinn, and Charles E. Merrill, Jr.

Lanterns takes us to Mississippi in the 1960s, where Edelman was the first and only Black woman lawyer. Her account of those years is a riveting first-hand addition to the literature of civil rights: "The only person I recognized in the menacing crowd as I walked towards the front courthouse steps was [a] veteran New York Times reporter. He neither acknowledged me nor met my eyes. I knew then what it was like to be a poor Black person in Mississippi: alone." And we follow Edelman as she leads Bobby Kennedy on his fateful trip to see Mississippi poverty and hunger for himself, a powerful personal experience for the young RFK that helped awaken a nation's conscience to child hunger and poverty.

Lanterns is illustrated with thirty of the author's personal photographs and includes "A Parent's Pledge" and "Twenty-five More Lessons for Life," an inspiration to all of us-parents, grandparents, teachers, religious and civic leaders-to guide, protect, and love our children every day so that they will become, in Marian Wright Edelman's moving vision, the healing agents for national transformation.

Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 04, 1999 – Driven by the knowledge that she never for a moment lacked a purpose worth fighting, living and dying for, Edelman (The Measure of Our Success; Guide My Feet) recounts how she relied on the strength of her forebears and the hunger of those in need to push her through the halls of Spelman College and then Yale University School of Law. Here, she pays homage to those who have lit her path. As the head of the Children's Defense Fund, Edelman recognizes the importance of mentors in the lives of children. She recalls those who encouraged her by word or example to think and act outside of the low expectations many have for black girls and women. She cites her parents as her first guides and credits her father for instilling in her a voracious appetite for knowledge. Other mentors include "unlettered" men and women in the segregated, close-knit community of Bennettsville, N.C., where she grew up. Once she entered the halls of academia, she met others: Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College; historian Howard Zinn, a professor at Spelman College; and Charles Merrill, who created a fellowship that enabled her to travel to Europe. They helped shape her views by encouraging her to think "outside the box." Other lanterns on her path include Bob Moses, Mae Bertha Carter and Unita Blackwell, the civil rights activists with whom Edelman worked as the first black woman attorney in Mississippi. Thoughtfully written, this book is a testament to family, community and spiritual values.
Lanterns
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  • $27.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 15, 1999
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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