Please welcome author Janis F. Kearney with a fascinating top ten list for “Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place” (creative non-fiction chronicling the life of Civil Rights Legend Daisy Gatson Bates).
Ten Things Readers will take from “Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place”
(A guest post from Janis F. Kearney)
10. Readers will gain a better geographical and historical understanding of Arkansas. The small southeastern state is hardly a blip on most Americans’ radars, but readers will come away from reading this book, understanding how it played a significant role in many aspects of American history.
9. Readers will find that the relationship between whites and blacks in the south was a very complicated one. While cities such as Little Rock called themselves moderate, with cordial race relations; the truth was that both races ‘accepted’ their perspective roles in the south’s legally segregated and discriminatory structure.
8. Readers will realize that much of the real work of the civil rights struggle was done by everyday southerners who simply wanted to see fairness and equality in their everyday lives; not leaders from “up north,” or men who were apart of Martin Luther King’s organization. There remains today many, many unheralded local leaders.
7. Readers will realize that women played an important role in this country’s civil rights struggle throughout the south. They sacrificed a great deal to pursue justice and equality
6. Readers will learn that the civil rights struggle benefitted greatly from white allies in the south, including in Arkansas during the tumultuous years of the Central High Integration Crisis
5. To many readers’ surprise, they will learn that L.C. Bates was in many ways, a renaissance man. He stood proudly behind Daisy as the spotlight shone squarely on her. He supported her leadership role, and advised her in all things.
4. Readers will learn that Daisy Bates was the only woman to speak at the historical 1963 March on Washington, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Readers will learn that Daisy Gatson Bates was 15 years old when she met and fell in love with 29-year old Lucius Christopher “LC” Bates, when he came to Huttig to sell her Orlee and Susie Smith a life insurance policy.
2. Readers will learn that Daisy was orphaned at the age of one, when her mother was allegedly raped and killed by white men, and left in the 40 Mill Pond, a tributary owned by the Union Saw Mill, and used to transport logs to and from the mill. Her father left her with Orlee and Susie Smith to care for her.
1. Readers will learn that Daisy Gatson Bates transformed her hate for all whites to a love for all people; and her bitterness, to a passion to see America live up to its greatness – where every child is given the opportunity to succeed in life.
Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Presidential diarist and author Janis F. Kearney transforms civil rights legend Daisy Gatson Bates’ life from black and white, to living color. The author, who interviewed Bates many times; recreates her conversations and interviews to “fill in” places left un-filled, and colors incidents and experiences, to bring Daisy Bates to life. Kearney plums the mysterious murder of Bates’ mother, and the orphan’s childhood; the young woman’s prophetic decision to share a traveling salesman’s life; her non-traditional role as co-publisher of an award winning newspaper; and her leadership role at a time, and place where women rarely led.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Daisy’s “look back” at her life, and…finally, a self-analysis of how, and possibly, why she became the Daisy Gatson Bates for which she is known throughout the world. Author Janis F. Kearney recounts the leader’s many friendships, relationships and associations that helps define who she was in the eyes of the world – from Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.; Roy Wilson, NAACP President; Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton, NAACP attorneys, Maya Angelou and Jackie Robinson… and countless others.
The author met Daisy Bates in the summer of 1969, at the age of16. From that moment, the high school student dreamed of working for the woman her father called one of Arkansas’ greatest leaders – black or white. The book is based on the author’s personal interviews, oral histories, conversations and in-depth research.
“Thank you to Janis F. Kearney for shedding a critical light on an often forgotten civil rights heroine. Daisy Bates was a woman who refused to be defined by society’s rules on both race and place in America. An often controversial figure, Bates lived life on her own terms, for which she paid dearly. She was an American hero who loved her country for all its greatness; but courageously proclaimed it could and should be better.” ~Sharon La Cruise, Producer
Author Janis F. Kearney
Janis F. Kearney is a publisher, author, and oral historian. She was one of 19 children born to Arkansas Delta Sharecroppers T.J. and Ethel Kearney. She Graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A., in Journalism, and completed 30 hours in public administration, and Journalism.
She was hired by Daisy Bates in 1987 as Managing Editor of the Arkansas State Press. In 1988, she purchased the newspaper. She served as Personal Diarist to President Clinton from 1995 to 2001. She was the country’s first personal diarist to a U.S. President, and during that time, she also served as White House liaison to the U.S. National Archives.
In 2001, Janis moved with her husband Bob Nash to Chicago, where she began her writing life. In 2003, Janis, with her husband’s support, founded Writing our World Press/WOW! Books in 2003. Her first book, Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir was published in 2004. Her other books include Something to Write Home About: Memories of a Presidential Diarist; Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton…from Hope to Harlem; and Once Upon a Time there was a Girl: a Murder at Mobile Bay, her first fiction. WOW! Books has also published two other authors. Her next book, Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is scheduled for publication, December 2012. Her third memoir, Sundays with TJ: 100 years of Memories on Varner Road, and her second Once Upon a Time there was a Girl murder mystery are both slated for publication in Spring, 2013.
Janis is an internationally-traveled public speaker, and can be contacted for speaking engagements, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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