Thursday, 17 January 2013

$25 Giveaway + Q &A with Janis F. Kearney, author of 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 plumbs 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.

Q & A 

1. What did you find the most startling thing about Daisy or about her life?
JFK:  I found the transformation from a happy, confident child to one who hated with such intensity, shocking but understandable.  The discoveries of her mother's death at the hand of others, and the fact that her father "ran away" to save his life, leaving her with friends, must have changed everything she had believed about herself, thanks to a doting foster father.

2.  What are some lessons girls can learn from Daisy's life?
JFK: Girls must be taught and shown by example how important self-esteem is in their happiness and their success. While equality of the sexes has been legally accepted for decades, it is still a cultural problem. Girls are still not viewed - and do not view themselves - as completely equal in so many cases. Daisy taught by example that no matter what you have or don't have, you can play an important role in life's events. Your courage and your actions equalizes things for the sexes.

3.  What were the factors that made Daisy who she was?
JFK:  Daisy's courage, her inquisitive nature, and her inability to accept the status quo simply because, `that's just the way things are.'  She was an unusual woman in that she not only questioned the status quo, but dared to go about changing things for the better of all.

4.  What was a turning point in Daisy's life?
JFK: I contend there are more than one turning point in all of our lives. We come to `forks in the road' many times over our lives, and the decision at that time makes all the difference in how we will live out the rest of our lives.  1. Two events in her life together sealed the transformation from a happy, carefree child to a child burdened with bitterness and hate: The confrontation with the butcher, and the discovery of her mother's murder. 2. The death of Daisy's foster father was another turning point, as he inplored her to rid herself of her bitterness.  3. Another turning point was meeting L.C. Bates. I still wonder if either of them would have been able to live up to the amazing accomplishments had they not been partners in life.

5.  Who are the new black leaders and what are the new "black" issues?
JFK:  Great question, but one I cannot answer. The civil rights era was such a tumultuos time for African Americans, and I truly believe that LEADERS were needed to realize the success during that time. I am not sure that is critical at this juncture in our society. There are still civil rights struggles, but we are past the point of relying solely on one man or woman to lead our "hearts." It is a more personal struggle. The need for that titular head of civil rights is not something that is as critical. What is needed now, is for all human beings to practice and live up to the edicts of human and civil rights. 

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Don't forget to pick up your copy of Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place wherever books are sold!

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