What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love: Healing the Emotional Legacy of Slavery, Celebrating Our Light

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9780060192969: What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love: Healing the Emotional Legacy of Slavery, Celebrating Our Light

"Mama," writes Brenda Richardson, "you taught me how a black woman could survive and prevail in this world...but because you never learned yourself, you couldn't tell me how to make love work...I don't mean any disrespect, Mama, but...now I have children of my own. And in a loud revolutionary voice, I declare to the universe: the pain stops here."

Clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade and coauthor Brenda Richardson ask their African American sisters to consider this question: "What lessons about love and intimacy were passed down from your foremothers to you?" In this provocative rethinking of the African American woman's experience, the authors suggest that African American women share an emotional legacy that began when their ancestors were dragged in chains to the "New" World and continued as their descendants suffered through the violence and humiliation of the Jim Crow period and later racism. Indeed, they argue, the long shadow cast by these historical events impacts romantic practice, lives can be transformed once there is a true understanding of the power of inherited beliefs.

What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love shows how important it is to grieve and make peace with this brutal history. As you will see in this remarkable uplifting book, it is possible to use the positive messages inherent in the African American experience to create a better life. Learn from the "Sisters Spirits"well-known African Americans whose stories enliven these pagesas you move toward emotional freedom. Listen to the words of the spirituals interspersed in the text, enhance the coping skills and strengths your forebears harnessed to help them survive and prevail, and believe that emotional emancipation is your birthright.

Mama may not have told you all this in so many wordsbut there is no doubt that she would want to see you take these last steps toward freedom and abundant love.

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Review:

Among the most damaging and unexplored legacies of the transatlantic slave trade are the negative, afrophobic mores and myths that have devastated black male/female relationships. This book by clinical psychologist and Essence magazine contributor Dr. Brenda Wade and coauthor Brenda Lane Richardson examines many of the so-called scarcity beliefs, such as: "There are no good men out there"; "Any man will cheat if he's tempted"; "I'll always be alone"; and so on. What the authors advocate is not only an acceptance of historical burdens but the willingness to express grief and delve into the deep, spiritual wells of one's ancestors. "The only way we can attain freedom," they write, "is by bringing our past into the light of understanding. What's required is a different sort of liberation movement, one that allows us to work through the shame and guilt that keeps us from embracing ourselves." Richardson and Wade offer several life-enhancing beliefs central to self-healing--"God loves me"; "I can make something out of nothing"; "I can make a way when there seems to be no way"; and "My heart will guide me if I listen." An enjoyable and uplifting reading experience, What Mama Couldn't Tell Us About Love offers words of wisdom that women of all hues can use. --Eugene Holley Jr.

About the Author:

Brenda Lane Richardson, the author of Chesapeake Song, is an award-winning journalist and a noted public speaker.

Essence colmnist Dr. Brenda Wade is a clinical psychologist, a well-known television personality, and a popular public speaker who lectures widely across the country.

Visit Dr.

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