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A ‘must-read’ that will help people find where their strengths lie

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" Civil Rights Baby has given me more heartache than I care to endure. When reading the passage about the hotel towels, I suddenly burst into tears ...

" This reminds me of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis in a figurative sense, but it literally resonates for me...as I have friends who are faced with the challenges that [Nita has] faced. "

Angela Shaw
Former NAACP and FCC staff attorney

 
 

Civil Rights Baby: My Story of Race, Sports, and Breaking Barriers in American Journalism looks at the life of a black baby girl born in the American South during the Civil Rights push of 1964. Later, as an 8-year-old, Nita Wiggins dreams audaciously of grabbing a career role that she does not see any black woman holding down in the United States.

Her racially divided country is not ready for her pursuit.

The question becomes: Do laws designed to eliminate racial and sexual discrimination succeed—or fail—for her and her generation?

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ESJ-Paris student Thierry Saint Espoir reads from Civil Rights Baby

Paris, May 6, 2019

Even immense obstacles do not affect Nita’s passion to become a sports reporter—and, ultimately, to cover pro football’s esteemed Dallas Cowboys. Nita trains herself in the mold of journalists she sees on her family’s console television set. It is the same television on which she heard, in real time, the announcement of the assassination of her first media idol, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rather than frighten her into subservience, Dr. King’s death instills in Nita the desire to become, like King, an inspiring face of color in a television landscape virtually void of black people.

She becomes dismayed that she must engage in workplace battles for equal opportunity. Nita feels that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is settled law—that especially journalism employers must not “deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” [SEC. 703(a) (2)] 

Wearied by more than a decade of battles, Nita reaches an emotional crossroads one afternoon in Dallas, Texas. In a moment of mute frustration, she ponders a decision that could ruin every good choice and well-thought-out move she has ever made.

Pictured below: Crucial contributors to the completion and release of Civil Rights Baby are line editor Janet Walker, the marketing team of Steve Harrison, and publishing guru Jack Canfield.

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Editor, playwright, and novelist Janet Walker in Paris

…for a finale powwow two days before the book launch.

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Steve Harrison’s trainings in marketing, publishing and speaking

… lead to a successful launch. Pictured at Ted X in Maryland in 2018.

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Jack Canfield’s Mastermind Retreat readies Nita for the final push

Pictured at the conclusion of training in Santa Barbara, California.