And not afraid to dare

And not afraid to dare

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Tonya Bolden
9780590480802

Bolden's Book of African-American Women (1996, not reviewed) covered 150 ``crusaders, creators, and uplifters''; this one presents a handful of such stalwarts in chapter-length biographies: Ellen Craft, Charlotte Forten GrimkÇ, Mary Fields, Ida B. Wells, and Mary McLeod Bethune from earlier generations; Clara Hale, Leontyne Price, Toni Morrison, Mae C. Jemison, and Jackie Joyner- Kersee of the present century. Bolden has a knack for succinctly providing just enough context to allow readers to comprehend the significance of the women's accomplishments. Some chapters are livelier than others, simply because several of these women made their most important contributions through long years of organizing, fund-raising, speaking, and writing, and their stories are not as inherently dramatic as those of fugitive Ellen Craft or the salty Mary Fields. Although she is given to hyperbole (the Rockies are not ``many miles'' high), clichÇs (``It was now or never'' and ``they were stopped dead in their tracks''), and awkward constructions (``Like many enslaved women, forced labor and beatings were not the worst violation of body and spirit that Maria had to endure''), Bolden is passionate about these women and about making readers familiar with their accomplishments. She includes capsule biographies of 21 other African-American women, a selected bibliography, and a detailed index.