Having Our Say

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  • Published : May 1, 2008
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Having Our Say is a detailed narrative report on the lives of Sadie and Bessie Delany, two elderly African-American sisters, who are finally having their say. Now that the people who kept them down is long gone, Sadie and Bessie tell the stories of their fascinating lives, from their Southern Methodist school upbringing to their involvement in the civil rights movement in New York City. Sadie is the older, and sweeter of the sisters. She was first colored high school teacher in the New York Public School System, Sadie considers herself to be the Booker T. Washington of the sisters, always shying away from conflict and looking at both sides of the issue. Bessie is the younger sister, and is much more aggressive. A self-made dentist who was the only colored female at Columbia University when she attended dentistry school there, Bessie is the W.E.B. Dubois of the sisters, never backing down from any type of confrontation. As the sisters tell the stories of their ancestors and then of themselves, and how they have endured over 150 years of racism in America, they tend to focus mainly on the struggles that they encountered as colored women. Bessie brings laughter to the book with her honest, frank, and sometimes, confrontational take on life. Much of the humor arises from the interactions between the sisters because of their opposite personalities. The Delany sisters were greatly influenced by their father. With their father being a minister, the Delanys learned excellent moral values. These morals played an important part in their lives. They faced many hardships and trials in over one hundred years. Their father’s influence played a major role in their survival. Other people in society did not know how to react to the Delany sisters. They were different from most other negro women of their day. They carried themselves with great pride, and they demanded respect everywhere they went, whether they got it or not. Although they were very different in many respects, they...
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