Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years
Having Our Say The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years Author:Sarah Louise Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany, Sarah Delany, Annie Elizabeth Delany, Amy Hill Hearth "When you get real old, honey," says Bessie Delany, "you lay it all on the table. There's an old saying: Only little children and old folks tell the truth." In Having Our Say Bessie, age 101, and her sister Sadie, age 103, do just that-and then some. — Filled with humorous and poignant anecdotes, this inspiring dual memoir... more » offers a rare glimpse of the birth of black freedom- and the rise of the black middle class-in America. It is a chronicle of remarkable achievement.
Sadie and Bessie Delany recall growing up with eight other siblings in turn-of-the-century North Carolina: their father was born in slavery, yet became the nation's first elected black Episcopal bishop; their mother could have "passed" for white but chose not to.
With irrepressible pluck, the sisters confronted the first days of Jim Crow and legal segregation, and took part in the World War I-era migration North, rising to professional prominence during the heyday of Harlem. Along the way they met such legendary figures as black leaders Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois and entertainers Cab Calloway and Lena Home. Both sisters favored careers over marriage, despite many opportunities. Later, they settled in the still partly-rural Bronx, then integrated a suburban neighborhood in the '50s.
Each has triumphed in her own way: "Queen Bess" with feistiness; "Sweet Sadie" with quiet determination. Though warmly skeptical of each other's style, they remain devoted. "She may be one- hundred-and-one years old, comments Sadie, "but she's still my little sister."
Today they are fragile, yet fiercely independent. They still live alone in their own house. They make their own peach preserves and their own soap, and don't own a telephone ("it's the biggest nuisance invented by mankind"). Radio keeps them informed -- and their opinions on current events are to be reckoned with.
Sadie and Bessie Delany's lifelong insights provide us with a priceless oral history of our nation's past century. And what they "have to say" shows us, as no one else can, where we've been, how far we've come... and how far we have to go.« less
This book is a WONDERFUL look into the lives and times of 2 remarkable women. My teenage son and I both enjoyed this immensely. We listened to the audio and watched the movie. Now I'm requesting the book. These ladies are wise, witty and have earned the right to "have their say".
Wonderful, inspiring and an easy read with complicated ideas to dwell on. I chose this book for our bookclub as well.
the book is arranged in decades. For the ones I lived in, I appreciated the sister's point of view and experiences. I found myself nodding in agreement. For the ones that my parents lived through, it provided insight.
Dr. Tammey D. P. reviewed Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years on
I read this book several years ago, for a college English class. I was really moved by it. Even though most women get married and have children at least once in their life time. It appears these two were meant to live their lives other wise. I reordered it for a women that recently passed through my life for a brief period of time. She is in her sixty and about to retire from work. As she shared stories of her and her younger sister with me. I could see a lot of Sadie and Betsy in the two. So I gave the book to her as a retirement gift to read and then share with her sister to read. They both have lived together all their lives and she has never married or had children. I just hope it will bring her and her sister even closer in their own lives. I give it all five stars.