“As my story unfolds in these pages it will show that while we have made progress through two iconic movements— civil rights and women’s liberation, we still have a long way to go” as stated by author Dr. Janice Ellis in her book From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream, a book addressing, “many of the issues around racial and gender inequality that America continues to grapple with.”
Revealing the double jeopardy experienced by Black women everywhere, her book tells the compelling story about the enduring scourge of sexism and racism in America, and how the playing field isn’t necessarily equal for black women facing difficulties in trying to achieve the American Dream.
Filled with hope and expectancy, From Liberty to Magnolia is written for Americans from all walks of life, with the desire to see America be celebrated, by facing its internal fears head-on. The book is the story of Ellis’ journey as a black woman growing up in the 1960s and 1970s America, during the Civil Rights and the Women’s Liberation movements, where blacks and women were seeking and demanding equal rights and privileges afforded to other Americans.
“There are lessons from my life journey through poverty, racism, sexism, and sexual harassment that I believe can directly benefit women, blacks, and other minorities.”
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, significant events such as the beating death of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, and the assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 among others, taking place in her hometown of Mississippi, the epicenter of various racial injustices, defined Ellis’ childhood.
Like most black female activist, she faced, “the two-pronged dilemma of being black and a woman,” while believing, through tireless perseverance, she would be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else.
“I have lived the chicken-egg conundrum. Which comes first? Am I black and then woman? Am I woman and then black? I have walked into many rooms, in many situations, filled with white people and wondered what they saw first.”
The book will also serve as a beacon for those concerned about America’s future and to encourage young children of color to realize their full potential.
While similar to the Civil Rights & Women’s Liberation movement, Dr. Ellis sees the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter as the next battle against racism and sexism. While the former movements achieved some gains but didn’t fix all of the problems faced by blacks and women, she advises that leaders of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo will need to be diligent should they expect to see change.
“I see the Black Lives Matter movement and the #MeToo movement as the next battle in the war against racism and sexism in America,” said Ellis, “History has shown us that it took years of hard work, public pressure, and sacrifices to realize the gains that resulted in policy and legislative changes like the passage of the Civil Rights Act for blacks, and the Equal Rights Amendment for women. And still, many aspects of those iconic acts are not enforced even today…It will be no different, if the Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements expect to realize real changes.”
Janice S. Ellis has been an author for more than 30 years and has written columns for newspapers and radio about education, politics, race, and socio-economics throughout her career. She has been an executive throughout her career, first in government, then in a large pharmaceutical company, and as a President and CEO of a marketing firm, and a bi-state non-profit child advocacy agency according to her official website.