PRIMARY LESSONS: a memoir by Sarah Bracey White, CavanKerry Press, 2013.
CavanKerry Press, Ltd. selected PRIMARY LESSONS as their "New Voices" publication. It was released in late August, 2013. PRIMARY LESSONS is book one of my memoirs and covers the time from my early years in Philadelphia, PA through 1963, when I graduated from high school in Sumter, SC. I've traveled a long road to this oasis, and I'm thrilled that my manuscript stood out among the hundreds CavanKerry must have received during their February 2011 "open-submissions-from-memoirists" period.
"Primary Lessons" is now in its 3rd printing! visit "Primary Lessons" on Facebook for pictures, tidbits, and the latest information.
A reading from "Primary Lessons: A Memoir" 11-13-16 - "My Debutant Cotillion."
"This book was absolutely wonderful! I have spent my whole life as a white male in the US trying to understand the African American experience. The contrasting experiences of life in the North vs life in the South are heart wrenching. Ms. White chronicles an incredibly tumultuous time in the U.S. and she does it in such a personal and moving way. Her writing style is concise yet filled with the emotions of her experiences. Although there are people who might be categorized as "bad guys" in the narrative, the author does not characterize anyone in a way that masks their humanity. The author has an amazing sense of memory and insight into her experiences that belie the fact that she was very young when she had the experiences. The book left me wanting to meet as many of its characters as possible. That's how human it is! Loved it!"
Carolyn Huggins says: "Primary Lessons by Sarah Bracey White was of particular interest to me, as I truly wanted to know her story. When Sarah was growing up in Sumter, South Carolina, I was a white girl growing up in Sumter, S.C. I knew things were different between the races, but I truly did not know of their hardships. I was raised to treat all others as I would want to be treated, so in reading this book, I was faced with the realization that that was not the case with all white people. (all white Southerners were not bigots). I love Sarah's style of writing, and applaud her for becoming who she is today, in spite of the adversity she faced early on. I look forward to her 'book 2' as I did not want to put down Primary Lessons until I finished it."
Primary Lesson's first official review in a major magazine has been published! Read it at http://southernlitreview.com/reviews/primary-lessons-by-sarah-white.htm
In Westchester County, NY, buy "Primary Lessons" at the Village Bookstore, Pleasantville.
Primary Lessons: A Memoir by Sarah Bracey White
As a precocious five year old, Sarah White was ripped from a middle-class life with surrogate parents in Philadelphia, and transplanted to a troubled, single-parent household in the Jim Crow south. “Outraged by all the things I couldn’t do in South Carolina because of the color of my skin, I rebelled against my mother’s efforts to rein in my outspoken nature and instill in me the southern virtues of respectability, keeping family secrets, and acceptance of fate. She also taught me to hate white people because they hated me. After my mother’s sudden death when I was 17, I had to re-think much of what she’d taught me, because my world suddenly became very different from hers.”
In this coming-of-age memoir, Sarah travels first from Philadelphia to South Carolina – with its Whites only water fountains and segregated schools – then to a job at a summer camp in the White Mountains of Vermont – where racism masquerades as classism and she’s required to address the campers as Miss, and forbidden to swim in the camp lake because she’s the help– and finally to college in Baltimore, just as the 1963 March on Washington unfolds.
Sarah’s refusal to accept the cultural system that tries to confine her parallels the unrest of a nation seeking to re-define equality. The author’s unyielding sense of self-esteem sustains her through family, social and cultural upheavals. It also puts her at the forefront of the change that Martin Luther King dreamed about for children like her.” Kevin Pilkington, in the foreword to Primary Lessons.