Nonfiction Book Award Status: Gold
Author Name: Janice S. Ellis
From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream vividly recounts the journey of an African-American woman from rural, segregated Mississippi through academia, corporate America, and politics. It is the story of how she triumphed even when, more often than not, the ugly realities of racism and sexism tried to deter her.
This book tells the broader story, too, of how her life epitomizes what the Civil Rights Act and Equal Rights Amendment have meant and have not meant for blacks and women as she has lived through their maturation during the last 50 years.
What better time than now to examine how these two seminal and defining events played out in the life of an ordinary African-American woman who believed in all of America’s promises? What better moment than today to look deeply at the life of a woman who prepared herself and worked tirelessly to achieve her goals only to realize that many lay beyond her reach and that of most women and most blacks.
From Liberty to Magnolia shows readers, especially aspiring women and minorities—with whom her story will have special resonance—how to navigate and ultimately embrace the challenges at every major crossroads and be triumphant.
A Discussion Guide is included for use by book clubs, classes, and group forums.
Janice S. Ellis, M.A., M.A., Ph.D., a native daughter of Mississippi, grew up and came of age during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement. Born and reared on a small cotton farm, she was influenced by two converging forces that would set the course of her life. The first was the fear and terror felt by blacks because of their seeking to exercise the right to vote along with other rights and privileges afforded whites. She became determined to take a stand and not accept the limits of that farm life nor the strictures of oppressive racial segregation and gender inequality. She aspired to have and achieve a different kind of life—not only for herself, but for others. The second was her love of books, the power of words, and her exposure to renowned columnists Eric Sevareid of The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and Walter Lippmann, whose column appeared for more than three decades in over 250 major newspapers across the United States and another 50 newspapers in Europe and Asia.
Dr. Ellis has been an executive throughout her career, first in government, then in a large pharmaceutical company, and later as a president and CEO of a marketing firm and a bi-state non-profit child advocacy agency. In addition to those positions, she has been writing columns for more than four decades on race, politics, education, and other social issues for newspapers, radio, and online. Her commentary can be found at JaniceSEllis.com .