Synopses & Reviews
After getting raped by her employer's husband at the age of eleven, "Cat", as Ida Mae Holland was known, became a rebel, getting expelled from high school, turning to prostitution, serving jail time for shoplifting and assault. But when she stumbled across the civil rights movement, the troublemaker found herself developing into a leader on the front lines of marches and protests, facing police dogs and water hoses, being beaten and jailed again and again, all in a struggle for freedom. The dream soon turned into a nightmare, however, as Cat's family suffered the cruelest retribution at the hands of white bigots that she could ever have imagined.
Holland's ability to persevere and several lucky turns of events let to triumphs as well. After receiving a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Holland now says, "I've been a whore, I've been a thief, and I've been a street fighter. This book is for anyone who wants a better life." By turns harrowing and hilarious, From the Mississippi Delta tells her remarkable coming-of-age story in a prose as black and hot as the fires that ravaged her dreams.
"She carries us into the lives that she and Mama and their neighbors lived, illustrating not only the obstacles the SNCC organizers faced but also the heroism they found and the ultimate price that some people paid....A magnetic memoir....No one with a sense of history and humanity no one who has been as far down as Holland says she was, who has had helping hands as Holland has had, who had a Mama like hers can read her book with dry eyes." The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Kay Mills
"Holland has an infallible ear for the emotional pace of a scene, letting the horror be just blunt enough for just long enough, then segueing into the release of laughter." Time
"Holland passes her strength and inspiration on to others with humor, tremendous insight, and astounding candor. Holland's powerful and inspiring story of her life is truly a gift to readers." Booklist
"The gritty and inspiring book...is so raw it just about breaks your heart to read it." David Nocholson, The Washington Post
After being raped by a white employer at the age of 11, Holland became a rebel, turning to prostitution and delinquency. But when she stumbled across the civil rights movement, the trouble-maker found herself developing into a leader -- only to encounter the cruelest retribution at the hands of white bigots that she could ever have imagined.
About the Author
Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Southern California's Shool of Theater and Gender Studies program. She has authored several plays, including From the Mississippi Delta, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.