Dear Self A Year In The Life Of A Welfare Mother Kindle

Dear Self is the penetrating journal of Richelene Mitchell a young African American mother of seven struggling to raise her children while wrestling with the burden of poverty callous public policy and both overt and subtle manifestations of entrenched institutionalized racism in America Mitchell was born in the rural south the daughter of an African American sharecropper She would venture to the northern ghetto of Philadelphia to enhance her educational opportunities Hence her early life was shaped by the twin forces defining African America life in the twentieth century the rural south and the urban north Mitchell's promising academic career was curtailed by an eventually failed marriage that rendered her a single mother of seven children living in a sprawling public housing project Forced to deal with the humiliation of public assistance she chronicled a year of her life 1973 in this penetrating journal Though written over twenty years ago her intimate experience with and intricate insights into the informing and penetrating light on race reality faced by an expanding American underclass are as relevant today as they were then She sheds light on poverty mothering gender relations and many other pertinent issues This book is a valuable resource for all of those seeking to understand the reality faced by millions of Americans whose plight rarely finds an informed and articulate voice


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  1. says:

    See my review at NewIslamicDirectionscomIt was the year 1973 the Vietnam War was officially over and Watergate was to begin Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was the coveted album of the year reggae music was launched and bell bottoms were all the rageDear Self A Year in the Life of a Welfare Mother chronicles the journal of a young African American mother struggling to raise her seven children amidst the crushing poverty of housing projects impassive public policy and deep rooted discrimination Restricted by unfortunate circumstance 39 year old Richelene Mitchell expresses her intense literary yearning and activist awareness by writing letters to herselfAn open and moving memoir of the trials and platitudes of life Dear Self is very likely the first literary work of its kind Narrations in crystalline prose tell of a system that snares it’s most vulnerable of endless poverty and sacrifice hope and conflict societal prejudices and a precarious health condition endured in secret Her dignity and intellect unrepressed by her economic and social status Richelene’s hopes and dreams falter with her tenuous hold on life She writes how spirit breaking ‘adequate’ can be stretching pennies and food stamps for her children and trying to keep a warm homeRichelene also fleetingly dares to dream expectations tempered by her place in life and patiently borrows from the hope she sees in the future of her children In search of betterment she finds resilience joy and gratitude in her children in her books and writing her bowling league and in being useful to those around herA fervent reader and observer of popular culture Richelene’s writings are infused with her love for literature and poetry In the pre internet era and without access to an expensive education Richelene’s vast knowledge and quick wit are exceptional gifts that do not go unnoticed Already controversial in her time for her outspoken letter writing to various newspaper editors and politicians Richelene may have very likely become a celebrated groundbreaking blogger in our world todayDear Self is also a story of inner personal turmoil of the nafs or self Faced with hardship humiliation and unyielding loneliness Richelene struggles to uphold her self worth and to make the right choices for herself and her children She longs for companionship and affection but remains firm against the many suitors that come calling There cannot be passion and companionship without commitment and stability This is among the many lessons Richelene imparts to us from a bracing self knowledge that comes with the most shattering of life experiences divorce loss illness and lonelinessThough penned almost 35 years ago the message of this award winning book is still clear and astoundingly relevant With a foreword written by her first born son Imam Zaid Shakir American Muslim scholar professor and writer Dear Self is a valuable resource for those seeking to understand the exhausting reality of the dark corners and sharp edges of poverty in America A reality that continues to be faced by millions of American people whose quiet plight is rarely heard or voiced in such articulate and graceful words With a forward by Imam Zaid Shakir american Scholar professor and writer Available at NewIslamicDirectionscom