Everyone passionate about the written word will enjoy the stories shared with Marita Golden in The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing. Ms. Golden is a teacher, workshop presenter, and an award-winning author of several works of fiction and non-fiction. The bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners like Nikki Giovanni and John Hope Franklin tell their experiences very poignantly by sharing how they were inspired to begin writing and which books influenced them the most along the path.
On the Wealthly Speaker Show, Paul Lawrence Vann asked Ms. Golden to share the inspiration behind The Word. After listening to the dialog from many others about the advancements in technology over the years and the affects they have had on reading and writing, Ms. Golden noticed that African Americans were not actively involved in that dialog. She decided that she wanted to write a book that brought out why reading and writing is important to youth. The group of writers that she interviews does a fantastic job of illustrating several points including the following:
Died for the right to read
Certain themes resonate from the introduction and throughout the book which illustrate the importance of the word in the lives of African Americans. Reading the experiences of the authors in The Word will remind the reader how far blacks have come from the beginning when learning to read or write meant risking their lives.
“In the face of a dropout rate of 60 percent among African-American high school students, African-American youth need to know, now more than ever, that just as their ancestors died for the right to vote, they sometimes died for the right to read,” page 6, The Word.
Benefits of reading and writing
Some of the other benefits that come from reading good books are:
- Overcoming challenges in learning to read and write
- Understanding the great potential of African Americans
- Learning how success takes work and discipline
Reading and writing help you to connect to people whom you would otherwise not know. The thirteen stories in The Word all show how the authors found people who they could relate to and emulate. Several overcame answers to challenges they faced through the books they read and mentors who encouraged them.
It is a great read that can inspire youth to search for authors who write about circumstances that they can apply to their own lives. So often, they feel literature is forced upon them by requirement in school. They need to be encouraged to use their own time to select their own topics and authors. The process of discovering for oneself is sacred.