Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book TV- What an Experience!

We hope that you were able to tune in to see our debut on CSPAN's Book TV on May 26th at either 8:30 am or 8:30 pm. From the telephone calls, e-mails and Facebook posts we've received quite a few people saw the program and thought it was great. We've made a lot of new Facebook friends thanks to Book-TV and our rank on Amazon.com went up considerably. We were ranked as the #1 book on "letters and correspondence"; #3 on "African American Studies" and #7 on "Women's Studies" thanks to all who went on-line to order a copy of the book.

Also many thanks to our hosts for the presentation and book-signing, BUS BOYS & POETS Bookstore. The next time you're in Washington, D.C. and want a unique dining experience, accompanied by unique book signings or not, we encourage you to visit this independent book store.

Again, appreciation to our contributors; Betty Falato, Miriam Guichard, Regan Botts-Ruiz, Lori Polin Jones and Donna Aza Smith for joining us and adding their wisdom and grace to the program.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Join Us and SUNY Press at the BookExpo of America in NYC

We are packing our bags for another trip to New York City. This time we are going to Manhattan, the Javits Center, for the largest gathering of publishers, book dealers, authors, and book lovers in the country!

We will be joining SUNY Press staff members at booth #4840 for a number of book sessions, to meet and greet and to network, network, network. We're told that the Expo attracts as many as 80,000 people from all over the world! Here's our itinerary as set up by the Press:

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram
Friday, May 29 12:30-1:30 PM
African American, Table 2

We will also be having a book signing in the SUNY Press booth, #4840, on
Sunday, May 31.
9:30-10:30 AM

Thanks Gary Dunham, Fran Keneston and Dan Flynn for your assistance in setting up these opportunities. For more information on BookExpo, check the following link:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stay Tuned: An Interview with Sybil Wilkes of the Tom Joyner Show Coming Up!


Thanks to Tony Rose, Executive Director-Co-Founder of the African American Pavilion at BookExpo America, we have an interview scheduled with Sybil Wilkes of the Tom Joyner Show.

The African American Pavilion features exhibitors, seminars, booksignings, speakers and book giveaways. Sponsored by Amber Communications Group, Inc.; Amber Books; Adrienne Ingrum, LLC; The Tom Joyner Foundation; Lift Every Voice Books; BlackNews.com/Diversity City Media, Inc.; QBR The Black Book Review/QBR.com; Disilgold.com and the Tushe Group.The African American Pavilion is in its 6th year.

Our interview with Sybil is scheduled for May 30th at noon in the Javit's Center, headquarters for the BookExpo. If you've ever listened to the Tom Joyner Show, you know that Sybil has a book club, so we're excited to talk to her about Go, Tell Michelle. We also have two book signings scheduled in the "Celebrity Author Booksignings Booth #2249" on May 29th from noon to 1pm and again on May 30th from noon to 12:30. If you're in town, stop by and see us!

If you would like to take a look at last year's exciting book fair, log onto the video below.

Video Tube

Monday, May 18, 2009


We have some exciting news to share with our readers. On March 28th, CSPAN's Book TV filmed our talk and book signing at Bus Boys & Poets Book Store in Washington, DC. The tape of that program is now scheduled to air on Book TV on May 25th at 8:30am and repeat at 8:30pm. Please tune in for the program. If you can't watch at either time, please tape it! We were joined by several contributors, who read from their submissions: Betty Falato, Miriam Guichard, Lori Polin Jones, Donna Aza Smith, and Regan Botts Ruiz.

vonetta t. rhodes_GTM Contributor Speaks

vonetta is a Buffalonian who answered the call for letters and poems to "Go, Tell Michelle". During our May 9th book signing I talked to vonetta about her contribution, "adoration" and she shared with me what inspired her to write this poem.

Bed Time Stories with the League of Black Women

It’s 8:30 p.m. May 15, 2009 and the women attendees of the League of Black Women Sixth Annual Conference, led by Sandra Finley, President and CEO, are gathering in the Grand Ballroom for the League’s Bedtime Stories Presentation. The keynote presenters are co-editors of Go, Tell Michelle, Drs. Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold. The Grand Ballroom is on the 16th Floor of the Trump International Hotel in Chicago. One full side of the room is glass and overlooks canal systems running through the city against the backdrop of the beautiful Chicago skyline. The view was at our back and was breathtaking. Nearly one hundred women arrived in fluffy white robes provided by the Trump International Hotel. Many were in lovely pajamas and fluffy slippers to match. Some women sat at tables and others lined the floor propped up against fluffy silk pillows. With a late evening snack of caramel popcorn, chocolate covered popcorn, special cookies, decadent brownies shaped like miniature sandwiches and distilled water, the stage was set for a wonderful evening. Everyone was relaxing and getting ready to receive their guests. All of the women came with their Go, Tell Michelle books purchased by the League and presented to them for this special presentation. And what an occasion it was! Barbara and I were thrilled to speak before this wonderful group of managers, corporate execs, CEO’s, organization builders, educators and others. The beautiful setting was definitely an added bonus. With the lights dimmed and everyone comfortable, we talked about the origins of the Uncrowned Queens Institute and our efforts to continue building this one of a kind national model. We talked about our hopes and dreams for the Institute and we discussed our major source of support and our partnership with the University at Buffalo.

We turned our attention to the Go, Tell Michelle book of letters to the First Lady Obama published by SUNY Press. These women read along with us as we read passages from the book. They recalled stories of their own mothers and grandmothers and father and grandfathers. Some huddled together and wept while comforting one another. All shared their exhilaration at Michelle Obama becoming the First Lady of the United States of America. They thanked us profusely for taking the time to gather letters for this book. The major question of the night was: “Has Michelle Obama received this book? Has Michelle Obama agreed to meet with the contributors of the book? What can we do to get the book to the attention of the White House? And, “when is the second book being published” as many wanted to write their own letters. Overall, everyone wanted to make sure that we were doing everything possible to get this book to the attention of the First Lady. Many offered suggestions. At the conclusion of the presentation, Sandra Finley, who has a letter in the audio book of Go, Tell Michelle, asked each of the women for a brief statement that they would share with the First Lady. Their responses were electric and we hope we captured their essence in the accompanying video.

In the end, these women gave us incredible emotional buoyancy. They not only came with their books for signing, but also insisted that we embrace them and take photos with them. There was so much love and passion in that room and we felt it. We continue to feel it as we document the experience because it was truly extraordinary to see another group of African American women use the occasion of discussing the Go, Tell Michelle book to send their own special message to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A New Career

Well Dear Friends, you are witnessing, first hand, the launch of yet another "job" experience for me. Never in my life would I have imagined that at this time (a friend casually termed it the 4th quartile of our lives) I would be embarking on learning and using a new technology. But here I am. Just call me a videographer want-a-be (or maybe novice videographer, that sounds better). I recorded the interview with Candace, but forgot to turn the camera off after the formal interview ended. Hence, the video of my jacket, my hand, the floor, her feet and my good friend, Delores Coleman - upside down! (sorry about that Delores).

There is hope however, as they say practice makes perfect. And I am my father's daughter! Dad (Rev. W.B. Seals) was a photographer at a time when photographs were not only taken but processed and printed by the photographer. He even oil painted many photos before color film became affordable. So, please bear with me, dear readers, and I promise the videos will get better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with Candace Jackson

Candace is one of the young women who submitted a letter for inclusion in the Go, Tell Michelle publication.  Candace is a student at the University at Buffalo's Law School and is graduating this month on May 23rd.  Congratulations Candace and thank you for being a member of the GTM Sisterhood Network.  Candace was interviewed at the Talking Leaves Book Store in Buffalo following our book signing there on May 9th.  This event was sponsored by Xi Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Conversation: Barbara and Peggy Part 1

Peggy and Barbara begin their conversation about the origins of Go, Tell Michelle.

Monday, May 11, 2009

GTM Sisterhood Network: Closing a letter with Style, Lovely Valedictions

Like the rest of the world, I too, have been pondering over Michelle Obama’s first one hundred days as First Lady of the United States of America. I have also been combing through my mind and examining my thoughts for the one hundredth time about the themes in the letters and poems in Go, Tell Michelle. I thought about the individual poems and letters and I even memorized excerpts from some of them because I was so struck with their beauty and wisdom, like Lillian Bertram’s use of Cornelius Eady’s poem Gratitude to describe the journey of African American male writers where he writes, “for those who expected you to drown out there…well, you didn’t. ” I thought about Lillian Davis Wilson’s poem called A New Garden. I thought repeatedly about a letter by Janice Harris, not in the original book but in the audio book and still weep at her words. I reminisced on the lines in the letter from the African sister, Teta Banks from Liberia saying that “Liberia opens up its arms to Michelle Obama.” I thought a lot about what I might have missed in these women’s words and so I went back over them. When I got stuck on a particular meaning, I called some of the authors to find out what they meant by certain phrases, like Tracey Swinton Bailey. I asked her about the North Santee where she and Michelle Obama, transported from another time , another day, stood shoulder to shoulder watching dark men with strong backs and quick wit and mothers with clouds of wooly hair…” Arlette Miller Smith described Michelle Obama’s choice as First Lady as lifting historic burdens from the shoulders of great Black foremothers and she called the names of women I had not known like Jarena Lee and her spiritual awakening. I wanted to know of Jarena at least. I combed over the letters to see what they said about Barak Obama and his love of his wife Michelle. I was enthused all over again.

More than just the content of these writings, I became interested in both their greetings but especially the valedictions or closing of each letter to see if I could extract from them some additional meaning that would be relevant for the first one hundred days. As it turned out, while some writers thought they had no more to say, the valedictions themselves remain a testament to each contributor’s timeless dialogue. I have included only a few of these gems. Together they conjure the images of a garden of beautiful closings yet beautiful openings. And though they are their last words they are really first in the beginning of hope, love, well wishes and continued optimism for a hundred one hundred days for Michelle Obama.

Lillian Bertram: In Peace and Strength,
Karima Amin: Peace and love, hope and strength,
Arabella Grayson: Blessings of peace and prayers of serenity,
Doris Green: God Bless and Keep the Obama Family,
Faith Childs Davis: Living the Dream,
Amira Davis: Remember, Our Mothers Prayed,
Nicole Day: With Love,
Priscilla Hill: Peace and Love,
Donna Aza Smith: Sending You Love,
Dera R. Williams : God Bless You and Your Family,
Anita Arnold : Bustin’ with Pride in Oklahoma,
LaRhonda Crosby-Johnson: Thank you. Thank you. Dear Michelle,
Ellen Grant: God’s Peace,

Book Review: by Gary Earl Ross

Gary Earl Ross, a Buffalo English professor, novelist and playwright recently wrote the following review of our book. He has sent an excerpt to Essence, which is posted on their blog

The election of the first African-American president will be recorded as a signal event in the history of 21st Century America, a giant leap for a nation attempting to shed its troubled past on the road to the fulfillment of its creed. But the elevation of Barack Obama's wife Michelle to the role of First Lady will be remembered as nothing less than inspirational. Her presence on the international stage makes tangible for the world the strength of the African-American woman, a strength that has long been the foundation upon which communities of color are built. Go, Tell Michelle, African-American Women Write to the New First Lady is a deft, complex, heartfelt celebration of that strength. Compiled and edited by Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram, the book is a many-faceted love letter laden with history, herstory, empathy, and hope.

Inspired by the dignity and accomplishments of the new First Lady-to-be, Nevergold and Brooks-Bertram, founders of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, located at the University at Buffalo, issued a call for writing from Black women addressed directly to Michelle Obama. The response was overwhelming and international, with letters and poems coming in from all over the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. The resulting book has the words of contributors from all walks of life: writers, professors, nurses, administrators, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, social workers, consultants, mental health professionals, engineers. They are mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, aunts--all sisters, all bound by memories of the past and visions of the future. Their writings are laced with kinship, pride, concern, affection, advice, encouragement, faith, hope, gratitude, and joy. Most of the entries begin with "Dear Michelle," revealing the sense of personal connection felt by so many writers. That several begin with "Dearest Michelle" underscores how heartfelt the pieces are.

Still, the letters reveal much more about their authors than they do about
Michelle Obama. Individual stories are remarkable. Faith Childs-Davis recalls the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on her ninth birthday. Cynthia A. Bond Hopson describes her home in Tennessee as the site of the 1960-61 Tent City, for African-Americans driven out of their houses for having voted. Jacqueline Frazier writes of a grandmother who narrowly escaped being lynched in 1931. After sharing the hope and support of the poor women of her native Niger, Zeinabou Hadari writes, "I childishly dream of getting an autograph from you." Shirley A. James
Hanshaw even includes a recipe for pecan pie!

Go, Tell Michelle is a wonderful linking of women's arms in nurturing celebration of the new First Lady. It sings to her--and to all of us--"You will not be alone." It is a fine way to close the first decade of the 21st Century.
May 7, 2009

Welcome to the GTM Sisterhood Network

Dear readers of Go, Tell Michelle, welcome to our new Blog. Beginning today (may 11) you will be able to find updated information about our presentations, new reviews and comments about the book, feedback from our contributors and readers. The Blog will also contain the musings of Peggy and myself and any other information about our journey with the "People's Book". We encourage our readers and contributors to send photos, audio and video about your own journey with the GTM Sisterhood Network.
You can still visit the gotellmichelle blog at gotellmichelle.blogspot.com (SUNY Press) which archives all of our earlier posts and commentary.