Posted on January 27, 2014
When I was an aspiring young musician, I saw very few women instrumentalists who looked like me on the concert stage. When I became discouraged, I took inspiration from the stories of the women in my family:

My great-aunt Marjory Jackson (1904-1995), a single mother, teacher, composer, musician, and social activist whose dark complexion and flamboyant lifestyle raised eyebrows among her contemporaries in the snobby, color-conscious world of the African American elite;

My great-grandmother Lilly Pruett (1881–1930), a survivor who used her physical beauty and musical talent to escape the Jim Crow south.

My grandmother Alberta Sweeney (1897–1965) who, in the in the face of disappointment and personal tragedy, taught her children to celebrate the beautiful in art, music, and life, no matter what the cost.

To learn more about these amazing women and the indelible imprint they made in my life, you can read my book They Raised Me Up: A Black Single Mother and the Women Who Inspired Her. Go to the "books" section of this website for more details.