Children’s Book Tackles Importance Of Voting

A wonderful review for Granddaddy’s Gift!

Granddaddy’s Gift

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“The United States has seen some turbulent times in its history, especially for African-Americans. Granddaddy’s Gift highlights one aspect of American history, the African American struggle for the right to vote. The stars of this touching story are Joe Morgan and his granddaughter whom he calls ‘Daughter’ but everyone else in their community affectionately calls ‘Little Joe’ because she is like his shadow. Joe Morgan is a man who has worked hard all his life and in spite of his 8th grade education, he owns his own land on which he farms and raises animals. He stresses the importance of education to his granddaughter through both his words and actions. When it comes time for someone in their Mississippi community to stand up and attempt to register to vote, Joe Morgan answers the call. As a result of his decision he, his family and ultimately the entire African American community are faced with adversity, but in the process he teaches his granddaughter some important lessons.

“Granddaddy’s Gift illustrates how the freedoms that many of us take for granted are indeed a gift from the generations before us. The illustrations perfectly complement this keenly written story and add a personal touch. The story instills a sense of pride in the legacy left by ordinary but brave people who helped to change the cultural climate of this country. I highly recommend this book, not only because it relates historical information but also because of the values the story represents.” -S. Seay

For more information: Granddaddy’s Gift



A Wonderful Joyous Day

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The National Museum of African-American History & Culture opened Saturday with a ceremony befitting it’s importance. Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia said that this museum “Symbolizes all of the contributions, the culture and the crisis of black America. It’s a beautiful thing, especially in this day and time when we’re fighting to remind ourselves how important black lives are.”


The museum holds more than 3,000 items, including exhibits of an authentic slave cabin from a plantation in South Carolina, a Tuskegee Airmen training plane , the casket of Emmett Till, Chuck Berry’s candy-apple red 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, and nine of the ten Olympic medals won by Carl Lewis.

Descend into the lowest level. The exhibits start with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and goes to Emancipation. Along the way you will see a whip used aboard slave ships, an auction block where slaves were sold, and Nat Turner’s Bible.

The next level and ramps cover segregation to today. They include a rail car from the Southern Railway which shows the different accommodations for white and black passengers, who paid the same fare.


Above ground are floors 3 and 4. Here you will find African-American achievements in the fields of music, art, sports, the military, and other areas highlighted. From these levels visitors can look out and view the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, and the National Mall.

In his dedication of the museum, President Obama said, “Hopefully, this museum will help us to talk to each other, and more importantly listen to each other, and most importantly see each other.”

The dedication ceremony ended with the oldest and the youngest members of the Bonner family, who are descendants of slaves, ringing the Freedom Bell to officially open the Smithsonian’s new museum.


A trip to Washington, D.C. to see  the National Museum of African-American History and Culture is a must. The museum is power packed, absorbing, and filled with exhibits that will elicit a wide range of emotions.

The People In The Park Featured on Splinterfire

I am thrilled that my YA novel, The People In The Park, is a featured book for August on the Splinterfire website.

Following are excerpts about The People In The Park:

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Lauren Moffitt is privileged and overprotected by her wealthy parents. Lauren’s only concerns in life are getting good grades and finding the perfect designer dress for her junior prom. The world is her oyster. Nothing can prepare her for the devastating scandal that rocks her world when her father is charged with investment fraud.

As Lauren’s father fights to save his name, Lauren quickly learns who her real friends are, and that she has a lot of growing up to do. Spoiled and self-centered, she struggles to keep her head high. But it’s not until after she hears the stories of the people in the park, her sanctuary where she takes her daily run, that Lauren realizes that she can rise above her family ‘situation’. For the first time in her 16 years, Lauren begins making serious decisions about her life’s goals. When her father is exonerated, Lauren begins to establish ties with her African American relatives, especially a wonderful cousin who is her age and who attends a city prep school.

Strong-willed Lauren learns to be charitable, but most of all, she learns what the importance of family ties means to securing a happy future for herself and her loved ones.

PG-13 Christian

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Margaree King Mitchell’s wonderful picture book, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, has been adapted and produced into an award-winning musical. It’s run has been very successful. She’s helping the creators of the show identify producers to carry the show to cities throughout the United States.

She’s traveling and  promoting her novel, The People In The Park. She is also promoting her first novel for adults, Woman In The Pulpit.


Thanks Splinterfire for the feature!

Be sure to browse around the Splinterfire website and check out the wonderful books by Donna Eastman & Gloria Koehler. Their motto is: Wholesome Books For All Ages

Visit: Splinterfire

Read Chapter 1 of The People In The Park! Click below:

The People In The Park – Chapter One



The Music Of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop

The music of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop exemplifies the rich cultural heritage of African American music. In honor of African American Music Appreciation Month, I’m taking a moment to highlight the music in Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, a new family musical created by David Wohl, Kenneth Grimes, and Susan Einhorn and adapted from my book of the same name.  Inspired by the music of the 1920’s through the early 1960’s, the musical is uplifting, sizzling, and glorious!

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The songs hook you with their rich creativity. An evening at the Uncle Jed’s Barbershop musical is completely satisfying, with theater music influenced by blues, gospel, jazz, spirituals, bebop, and a variety of pop and classical influences.

A joyous celebration of music, the actors deliver emotional punch in every song. But don’t take my word for it. Below are quotes from theatre critics, theater goers, and the creators of the show.

“When the creators of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop decided it was time to finally, fully stage their unapologetically sentimental new family musical, they weren’t messing around. Their cast features Broadway veterans Ken Prymus, Nora Cole, and Terry Burrell, along with a host of local stalwarts including Mary Louise Lee, Harvy Blanks, Leonard Barrett Jr. and Anna High. And they weren’t messing around when they unearthed a then 12-year-old named Yasmine Hunter to share with Lee the leading role of Sarah Jean. Lee brought the backbone and Hunter brought down the house on a solo called ‘I Will Go Where You Go’.”  – John Moore, Theatre Critic

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“Get ready for some toe-tapping fun! The brainchild of composer David Wohl and co-creators Kenneth Grimes and Sarah Einhorn, this heartwarming performance tells a story of faith, determination and family to the backdrop of a soulful score that traverses decades of musical styles. Theater-goers will find themselves immersed in the story of Sarah Jean Carter and her Uncle Jed, who dreams of one day opening his own barbershop.”  –  Denver Life Magazine

“Uncle Jed’s Barbershop leaps from the bookshelf to the stage! Colorado composer David Wohl drew inspiration from the music of the 1920’s and 30’s for the score.” – Colorado Public Radio

“Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, an award-winning play, is an inspiring story which all families can learn from. This is the type of show where you don’t get bored. It will get you up and get you moving.”  – Good Day Colorado, Fox 31 Denver

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“Oh, my God! I have never been to a play where I was so caught up in the music! It touched my soul! I had to go back the next day. The music gripped me even more. I was completely swept back in time. I was mesmerized.” Ira Johnson, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

“Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a stage play the whole family can enjoy. Loaded with life lessons about perseverance, financial, and personal struggles, the music ties everything together. It is fantastic.” – L. R. Henderson, Houston, TX

“This is a show whose family, community, and generational story lines and dynamics tell a powerful and moving universal story for all people of all times. The music is theater music that is both eclectic and ‘rooted’. Influences include blues, spirituals, romantic music, gospel, Motown, country, and so forth. The main purpose of every musical number is to advance plot and to continually fill out the lives of the characters.” – David Wohl, Finale Blog

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“To do this show has really been a faith walk. We don’t have systems of support in place to really help independent artists to pull off productions on this scale. We are hopeful that this will launch us to take it nationally.” – Kenneth Grimes, Denver Urban Spectrum

To learn more about the new musical, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, and its music, visit:  Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, A New Musical

dear sarah jean





I Am Featured On Inspire Me Today

I’m so excited to share some great news with you! Today I am the featured Inspirational Luminary on, sharing my wisdom with the world.

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Excerpts from Decide To Shine Wherever You Are:

Don’t be afraid of becoming who you are.

The minute you decide that you are going to become who you are meant to be in this world, is the moment you begin to soar.

Criticism stops us at times. But look at your critic as a person, not as a god. When we place critics in the proper perspective we can get on with our life’s mission.

Click to continue reading: Decide To Shine Wherever You Are


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June Is African American Music Appreciation Month

President Obama has issued a proclamation naming June as African American Music Appreciation Month.  Now is a great time to teach children about the contributions to music made by people of color.

When Grandmama Sings tells one such story. Set in the 1940’s, Belle is going to spend the summer touring the South with her grandmother and a swing jazz band.  Belle has never been outside Pecan Flats, Mississippi. And she can’t wait to go on the road with Grandmama. There are so many new things to see on their travels through the Deep South. But some things aren’t new. Everything is segregated, just like at home. But Grandmama stands up for what’s right.

At the end of the tour, Grandmama says, “Belle, tonight was special. I could feel all of those folks with me. I want us to feel this way all the time. I want to sing in a place where black people and white people aren’t kept apart. That’s the kind of world I want for you.”

President Obama’s official proclamation is below:

A vital part of our Nation’s proud heritage, African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known. It accompanies us in our daily lives, and it has rung out at turning points in our history and demonstrated how our achievements as a culture go hand-in-hand with our progress as a Nation.

Billie Holiday

During African-American Music Appreciation Month, we honor the artists who, through this music, bring us together, show us a true reflection of ourselves, and inspire us to reach for the harmony that lies beyond our toughest struggles.

Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our nation — animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls. In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together.


This month, we celebrate the music that reminds us that our growth as a Nation and as people is reflected in our capacity to create great works of art. Let us recognize the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up — to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.

Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as African-American Music Appreciation Month.

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I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs that raise awareness and foster appreciation of music that is composed, arranged, or performed by African-Americans.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

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Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, A New Musical

142nd Running of the Kentucky Derby – A Time To Remember

Did you know that an African-American jockey won the first Kentucky Derby?   Oliver Lewis was the jockey and he won on “Aristides.”  In fact, African-American jockeys dominated the sport of thoroughbred horse racing for over 25 years.

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As we prepare for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby, lets take a moment to remember the unsung heroes of thoroughbred horse racing and the contributions they made to the sport.

Listed below are the black jockeys who won the Kentucky Derby, the horses they rode, and the year they won.

1875     Oliver Lewis on “Aristides”

1877     William Walker on “Baden Baden”

1880     George Lewis on “Fonso”

1882     Babe Hurd on “Apollo”

1884     Isaac Murphy on “Buchanan”

1885     Enoch Henderson on “Joe Cotton”

1887     Isaac Lewis on “Montrose”

1890     Isaac Murphy on “Riley”

1891     Isaac Murphy on “Kingman”

1892     Alfie Clayton on “Azra”

1895     J. (Soup) Perkins on “Haima”

1896     Willie Sims on “Ben Brush”

1898     Willie Sims on “Plaudit”

1901     Jimmy Winkfield on “His Eminence”

1902     Jimmy Winkfield on “Alan-a-Dale”

Although these jockeys made nothing like the $2 million guaranteed purse offered in the 142nd Kentucky Derby, some of them made a very good living plying their trade.  When Isaac Murphy died in 1896, his estate was valued at $50,000.


African-American jockeys travelled the elite racing circuit in the 1800’s.  However, because of injuries, illness, and lack of proper care, only a few became stars.

By the turn of the century, the sport began to change.  Growing racial tension between black and white jockeys began to erupt on and off the track.  The time soon arrived when black jockeys were no longer welcome on the track.  The days of the great black jockeys were over, never to return.

Today we salute the African-American winners of the Kentucky Derby and their place in history.