For Immediate Release:


Meet the Author and Book Launch

They Raised Me Up: A Black Single Mother and the Women Who Inspired Her

by Carolyn Marie Wilkins


Saturday February 8 at 3PM

57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th Street Chicago IL 60637



Contact:  Rui Carlos da Cunha

                (773) 684-1300


"An intriguing and beautifully rendered look at a group of women that is often overlooked.”

-Diane Harriford, Professor of Sociology, Africana Studies and Women's Studies, Vassar College


They Raised Me Up is the story of single mother Carolyn Wilkins’ battle to succeed in the man’s world of jam sessions and jazz clubs, and of the five musically gifted black women who inspired her. In sync with the release, Wilkins will be signing books and reading excerpts from They Raised Me Up at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St. Chicago, IL 60637 – (773) 684-1300.


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Wilkins alternates her own story with those of her ancestors’ struggles to realize their own dreams: Phillipa Schuyler, whose efforts to “pass” for white inspired Carolyn to embrace her own black identity; Marjory Jackson, the musician and single mother whose dark complexion and flamboyant lifestyle always raised eyebrows; Lilly Pruett, the stunningly beautiful daughter of an illiterate sharecropper; and Ruth Lipscomb, the country girl who realized her dream of becoming a concert pianist.


They Raised Me Up interweaves memoir with family history to create an entertaining, informative, and engrossing read that will appeal to anyone with an interest in African American or women’s history or to readers simply looking for an intriguing story about music and family.


About the Author: Carolyn Marie Wilkins is a Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She has toured South America as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, performed on radio and television with her group SpiritJazz, and worked as a percussionist for the Pittsburgh and Singapore symphonies. She has released several critically acclaimed CDs of her original compositions and is the author of Tips for Singers: Performing, Auditioning, and Rehearsing (Berklee Press) and Damn Near White: An African American Family’s Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success (University of Missouri Press).


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