Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Casting the Net(work) Far and Wide: the GTM Sisterhood Network Progresses

Members of the GTM Sisterhood Network continue to work - over-time - to get out the message about our phenonmenal book. E. Rashun Williams shares her latest adventure as she returned to her Alma Mater, Alverno College in Wisconsin to lead a writer's workshop. Rashun currently teaches at Hinds Community College in Mississippi, so she traveled no small distance to Alverno for this workshop experience and it appears that the participants enthusiastically embraced her and our publication. Read what Rashun has to say about her trip.

"Hello, GTM sisters!!

I wanted to write a brief note about my reading at Alverno on June 27, 2009. It was smashing!!! There were 70 plus in the writer's workshop audience. They were great!! The book store had been informed of the expected number of participants; I checked periodically; I purchased a couple of them for my friends. When I left the building, I saw 4 on the table. -- I was told that many were inspired to write or continue to write, and I hope that they will communicate that to you; I gave a number of them my email address/phone number, so that I could help them to get in touch with you.--

As we know, I drove there 13 hours one way; Ooooh, I had a black, shiney, fast a-- Mustang. It was a great drive, of course, until I got to Dan Ryan in Chicago, and we know that story. I returned Sunday night, 9:30, crashed, and was back at work for my second session class Monday at 7:30 a.m. So, I'm still tired, but I'll recover over the weekend." Rashun

Rashun, We're glad to hear from you; pleased that you had a safe and productive trip; hope that you get a little rest in the next few days! Your sisters

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Road with Go, Tell Michelle

We are continuing our book tour this summer and have added two very exciting venues just recently. On July 15th, we will be one of the featured authors at the NAACP’s Author’s Pavilion. (Check out their website at http://www.naacpauthorpavilion.com/ for our photos) The NAACP is observing its 100th Anniversary and this year’s convention promises to be another historic milestone in that organization’s century of service. President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the Convention on its final day, July 16th. We plan to be in the audience with a book or two!

In August, we will travel to Tampa, Florida to attend the National Association of Black Journalist’s Conference and participate in their Author’s Show Case. The Author’s Show Case is scheduled during the conference which will be held from August 5th to 9th.

NABJ is an association of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services year-round to benefit black journalists worldwide. We don’t know the exact date for our signing yet, but will update you when we are informed.

Both of these venues offer exciting new opportunities to spread the word about Go, Tell Michelle to broader audiences, who can connect to our message. We are encouraged by the access to these new platforms to spread that message.

We want to extend a special thanks to Gwendolyn Osborne, a very special lady we just recently met at the Book Expo in New York City in May. Gwendolyn, in the true spirit of sisters helping sisters, reached out to us and gave us the assistance we needed to connect to the NABJ and NAACP. We’ll have more to say about sister networks later, but we rank Gwendolyn up at the top as a sister network all by herself!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

“Go, Tell Michelle” Contributor, Deborah Seals, Tells It to Ed Schultz on the “Ed Show”

On Saturday, June 13th, Ed Schultz, “star” of the Ed Show on MSNBC brought his program, town show style, to Buffalo, New York. Deborah Seals, a GTM contributor, attended the taping and stepped up to the mike to address the issue of health care reform. After the program, Deborah had an opportunity to talk to Ed. Copy of our book in hand, Deborah told Ed that CNN’s American Morning, CSPAN and NPR along with local and other national media had aired interviews about “Go, Tell Michelle”. She then asked him what about the Ed Show? Ed took the book and said he’d check it out (hopefully by that he meant that he'd read it). So, GTM Sisterhood Network, let’s give Deborah some support by contacting the Ed Show about “Go, Tell Michelle”. Ed can be reached at: the show’s producer: james@edschultzshow.com, 701-200-9134. Let’s flood the Ed Show with e-mails about “Go, Tell Michelle” and ask Ed to follow up on his “promise” to Debbie.

By the way, if you watch the Ed Show, the episode that Deborah was on aired on Monday, June 15th. Thanks Deborah, great job!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Go, Tell Michelle Adopted by Africana Women’s Studies Program at Bennett College For Women

Some members of the GTM Sisterhood Network know that we have been working to propose that our book be used as a text by college professors(or high school teachers)in the disciplines of “Women’s Studies”, “African –American Studies”, “Gender Studies”, “Creative and Expository Writing”, “Sociology”, etc. We believe that “Go, Tell Michelle” offers instructors, at various educational levels and in various disciplines, a rich source of contemporary issues related to the historic election of Barack Obama as the First African American President and the installation of Michelle Obama as the First African American First Lady of the United States, which Black women have identified as compelling and of pivotal importance to them. And that these issues have been presented through the creative and interesting (and seldom used) mechanism of letter writing.

Thanks to the work of our dear friend and publicist, Marissa Jennings, a Bennett College alumnus, we have our first adoption of “Go, Tell Michelle” by a college – and we are so proud and pleased to announce that it’s an Historically Black College ( HBCU), Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. We just received the following e-mail from Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, Ph.D. , Mott Distinguished Professor of Women's Studies and Director of the Africana Women's Studies Program at Bennett College for Women. Dr. Johnson stated:

“I wanted to let you know that the book looks great. It is already on order for my class in the Fall, and I will be using it this summer as I teach in a Teen Writers Camp. We begin tomorrow (June 17th). I plan to read a couple of letters to the students as examples of expository writing in letter form. I will encourage the students (rising 9th-12th graders) to get a copy of the book and read it on their own.”

Dr. Johnson’s program Africana Women’s Studies was founded in 2004 under the direction of Dr. Irma McLaurin. Africana Women‛s Studies focuses on the experiences, socio-cultural conditions, and histories of women in the African Diaspora as well as issues generally important in the field of women‛s studies.

We are excited about Dr. Johnson’s selection of “Go, Tell Michelle” as an academic text for the Africana Women’s Studies Program and look forward to hearing about the student’s response to this amazing resource.

Special thanks to Marissa for her support and contribution to achieving this goal. We strongly encourage others, who know professors/teachers or are professors/teachers to consider using “Go, Tell Michelle” in the curriculum that you teach. And please contact us and let us know your and your student’s experiences with this extraordinary resource.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Book Review, Roy St. Clair

This book review was submitted to the Buffalo Challenger, a local African American newspaper here in Buffalo, New York.

"Go, Tell Michelle, is an extraordinary book of writings by women of African descent, to the First Lady of the United States. The power of the words in the letters and poems are unprecedented in American literature. You actually can feel and hear the writings, it is descriptive writing at the higher level.

The women who have contributed to this timeless piece of literature have traveled may world-wide roads and yet are a mirror image of Michelle Obama.

The First Lady is the reflection of all the sisters that wrote the poems and letters, because they are First Ladies in their families.

Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Dr. Barbara Nevergold of Buffalo, brain-stormed this brilliant historical idea to fruition. This collection of writings should be submitted to the Pulitzer Prize Committee for outstanding literary achievement for the year of 2009.

Go, Tell Michelle, should be in every American home library. www.sunypress.edu Roy St. Clair." Submitted by Peggy Brooks-Bertram

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Scene from the BookExpo

What a treat to meet up with fellow authors and fellow Buffalonian (Virginia), Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. Among the numerous publications of these best-selling authors: "Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made" and "Gotta Keep on Tryin'". They told us that they're working on a new book, scheduled to come out later this year. We wish you the best, Donna and Virginia.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gracies Awards Luncheon

Last Thursday (June 4th), we traveled back to New York City again. This time, we went straight to Central Park to the Tavern on the Green for the 2009 Gracies Award Luncheon. A partnership with Buffalo's WNED Broadcasting Corporation and the Uncrowned Queens with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York and Rich Products (another Western New York corporation) resulted in the radio series: "Uncrowned Queens: Voices of African American Women".
Based on the Uncrowned Queens Institute's concept of recognizing the little-known African American community builders of our community, the radio program featured a series of three interviews with these Uncrowned Queens. Peggy and I provided commentaries for several of the programs. Each program is introduced by Phlycia Rashad and hosted by Lorna Hill. Sonya Williams, Howard University professor and chair of the University's Communications Department was the executive producer.

Peggy and I were instrumental in the orignial conceptulization of the program idea, pitching it to CPB and identifying the interviewees for the final programs. We acted as executive consultants for the series.

We were very excited that "Uncrowned Queens: Voices of African American Women" series was selected to receive a coveted Gracies Award for as “Outstanding Documentary - Mid-Length Format” in the “Public” market category. For 34 years, the Gracies® have recognized exemplary media programming created for women, by women and about women, as well as individual accomplishments in the industry. The awards program also encourages the realistic and multifaceted portrayal of women.
The feedback that we have received from individuals in the community is that the series captured the stories of the women and profiled their accomplishements and contributions in compelling and interesting interviews. The Uncrowned Queens Institute has copies of the complete, unedited interviews for future research and educational projects.

The photos on this page include: Lorna Hill, Sonya Williams and Stratton Rawson, WNED's executive producer of the series.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Meeting New Friends, Graham DeGroot, Book Expo America with Suny Press

Since the publication of Go, Tell Michelle, we have had myriad beautiful experiences, many of them through meeting people from diverse backgrounds. One of the most interesting people we met at the BEA was Graham DeGroot and I sure hope we have his name spelled correctly as he wanted to make sure that we pronounced it correctly. We were signing books at the SUNY Press autographing tables at the Expo when we spotted a pair of very bright and exciting eyes peering at us from behind eye glasses perched ever so carefully on a serious little nose below a mane of light brown hair. It was Graham DeGroot who never took his eyes off of us while he waited to get a signed copy of Go, Tell Michelle. He was getting the book for his mother. We told him we hoped he would read it first to see if he would recommend it to his mother. He pondered for only a second before he said that he would be the first reader. That’s where the fun began. He seemed so excited about the book that we invited him to take a photo with us. We assured him that we would post it on the GTM Sisterhood Network blog. He agreed as he came around the table to join us. We gave him our blog address and asked him to visit and leave comments about the book. We are not sure of his age but we think he is about 11-12 years old. He left the line and took with him a real bright spot in the autographing experience. But we were enchanted again. Graham had returned. This time he stood holding his little red camera in the air to show us that he had returned to document this experience for himself.

It was a great treat to see him again and in so short a time. Again, when he got up to the signing table we told him how important it was that he read the book and understand what African American women had to say to the First Lady of the United States. He was even more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We told him to tell his friends and we encouraged him to set up his own blog and to link it with the GTM Sisterhood Network blog so that we can stay in contact. We look forward to this connection. He nodded in agreement. This was an exciting time for us because we also want young people to be able to read this book and to have a chance to see and understand what African American women have to say about this historic moment in our history. So, when we return to Buffalo and update the blog we will be waiting with baited breath to hear from Graham and we will keep you posted. P.S. Graham if you have a better photo, please send it to up so that we can replace this one. Peggy Brooks-Bertram

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Interview on EBRU-TV

We did not have a lot of "down time" during our recent New York City visit. On Thursday, following our first book signing event at BookExpo, we also had the opportunity to tape an interview for "Footnote", a program on EBRU-TV that focuses on new non-fiction. Molly Pesce, host of the program, was both engaging and insightful. Her questions demonstrated that she had a grasp of the significant issues that our book addresses and the significance of this historic text. The interview was fast-paced, fun and informative.

The program does not yet have an air date, but we were told that it will be part of the show's September or October line-up.