Linda Mabry Falling Up to Grace

ISBN 13: 9780988235205

Falling Up to Grace

 
9780988235205: Falling Up to Grace

In 1955, a three-year-old girl sets sail with her family from New York bound for Belgium, uprooted to allow her father to study medicine abroad, a privilege denied African-Americans at home. So begin Linda Mabry’s school years, a curiosity among white, French-speaking, children. Upon the family’s return to America, her father preaches, “Education will be your salvation,” sending his children to private school. Linda commutes between poverty, violence and upheaval at home in Harlem, to the privilege, status, and affluence of the Upper West Side. In 1993, a graduate of Mount Holyoke, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown, accomplished in her field, Linda becomes a professor of international law at Stanford. In 1998, an act of betrayal convinces Linda to abandon the “alien, unnatural way of being” she once thought necessary for a “colored girl” to fit in. She finds purpose fighting for gender equity and volunteering in a literacy program. Coming to terms with life after ending her professional career, Linda returns to the empty family house in Harlem, (abandoned after her father's practice had failed 20 years earlier), finding insight among the ghosts and echoes of her past – only to have her life interrupted by pancreatic cancer. Her friends find an unfinished memoir in her drawer after her death and with her husband's support bring her story to publication with “Falling Up to Grace.”

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About the Author:

Following a childhood in Belgium and Harlem, Linda studied at Mount Holyoke College where she graduated magna cum laude in 1973 with a degree in political science. A master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. and a degree in international law from the Georgetown University Law Center followed. Her professional successes included an appointment in the Carter Administration's Department of State and a partnership in a prominent San Francisco law firm, culminating in an invitation to join the faculty of Stanford University’s Law School. With Bill Clinton’s 1992 election, newly appointed Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown asked her to join his team, but Linda chose to remain at Stanford where, along with Condoleezza Rice and other women of color, she seemed to represent a new class of African-American women who knew no bounds on what they could achieve. However, in a much publicized act of defiance in 1998, Linda abandoned Stanford and the practice of the law to devote the rest of her life to public service and writing. She left behind material for a proposed memoir when she died of pancreatic cancer in 2007. Linda’s writing, which garnered the Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Award while she was in the Hedgebrook writer-in- residence program, was to be the last of her many achievements and a prescient tale told at a time of great change.

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Linda Mabry
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