My Mother & The Thinkers

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My Mother & The Thinkers.

My mother said people who create, participate in and appreciate art are better thinkers than those who do not. 

Sunny Nash Signs Her Book

Sunny Nash Signs Her Book

“Those interested in literature and art handle conversation better,” she said. “It has to do with the way their brains work and how they decide to live their lives; maybe because they read.” Over the years, I have to admit that she was right dragging me to see exhibitions, making me read biographies about artists like Rodin and listening with me to classical music.

It wasn’t enough to just own a book. My mother said, “You’re no better off, if you don’t read the book, than you would be if you didn’t even own it.”

During the era of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Jim Crow laws, my mother tried to give me an elevated experience, I was not as receptive to it as she would have liked. I was distracted by the Civil Rights Movement that heating up when I was still young. So, she subscribed to national black periodicals and made me read about Brown v the Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Riders and the Woolworth Sit-ins. Some of these events happened when I was so young that I was picking out words, one at a time, and asking her what they were. I wasn’t too happy about all that reading, either, but I began to appreciate her insistence that I become educated outside of my segregated world.

“Being a thinker means you want to know something about art,” she said. My Mother & The Thinkers.


Increase Productivity with Classical Music

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II learned that classical music improved my writing productivity when I became immersed in live classical music at the James Dick International Festival Institute at Round Top. One summer at the Institute, I produced recordings of recitals, piano and string solos, chamber ensembles and orchestras, as well as hosted the syndicated radio series, for which I wrote script copy for intermission segments while listening to the live performances.

Free Online Book Marketing for Authors


Save big money by building, optimizing and managing your web presence with free Internet tools that maximize publicity for your projects and career. [audio:|titl

Doris Topsy-Elvord, Long Beach Living Legend

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Doris Topsy-Elvord
Doris Topsy-Elvord

Doris Topsy-Elvord, the first black woman elected to the Long Beach, California, City Council; the first black female vice mayor of Long Beach; the first African American and third female on the Long Beach Harbor Commission; is  one of the Long Beach legends featured in the book, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way.

Co-founder of the African American Heritage Society, Long Beach, with Indira Hale Tucker, Topsy-Elvord provides a primary  account of her life and times along with the accounts eleven other Long Beach legends in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way. Other Long Beach legends in the book are:  Wilma Powell, Vera Mulkey, Carrie Bryant, Alta Cooke, Bobbie Smith, Patricia Lofland, Evelyn Knight, Dale Clinton, Maycie Herrington, Autrilla Scott and the late Lillie Mae Wesley, each of whom made a difference in the history of Long Beach, California, and development of  race relations in that city.

The Writing Life is my lifestyle, allowing me to seek out those topics that interest me and also bring healthy social discussion to the table. I welcome healthy discussion because it raises and reveals new perspectives on old issues. When I examine issues of the past, I learn where I stand in the present and how I will be affected in the future. In all of my re-examination of past social issues, I benefit, in that, I am able to understand at a deeper level how to explain the era of the Civil Rights Movement and the effect of Jim Crow on American society without preaching and turning readers away before I am able to reach them.

Reaching people is my goal in this blog, The Writing Life. However, in addition to reaching people, my blogs, online articles and Internet press releases serve another function. These online publications become part of my overall web presence and help in book marketing by attracting attention of search engines, as well as readers interested in my subjects. Web presence created by online publication gives me brand equity and popular recognition, while I am helping others to do the same with their writing.

Alta Cooke, Press Telegram

Alta Cooke, Press-Telegram

You don’t have  to look very far to find interesting subjects for your books and other writing projects. Carolyn Smith Watts and I found a project that has had significant historical implications in the area of race relations in our BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way book and DVD.

Because several of the women in this book are from Texas, the Brazos Valley African American Museum in Bryan, Texas, has requested that the book be placed on display there. Members of the Pioneering Dozen who are from Texas are: Carrie Bryant, from Mexia; Vera Mulkey, from Austin; Wilma Powell, from Waco; and the late Lillie Mae Westley, from Texarkana. These Texas women migrated to Long Beach, California, as small children with their parents or as young women. All have made Long Beach their home and made historical contributions to the city.

Brazos Valley African American Museum

Brazos Valley African American Museum

Historical Society, Long Beach
Historical Society Long Beach

When selecting a writing project like this one, make sure you involve credible personalities who will be supported by the general public, specific target audiences and the media. 

BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way received much local Long Beach attention in that it was installed into the Historical Society, Long Beach, had events covered by local media and was later received by libraries and museums across the nation, like the Brazos Valley African American Museum and the Historical Society, Long Beach.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks on Montgomery Bus

In their own way, the African American women in BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way had a similar mission in their lives as Rosa Parks when she sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.

There were many forces at work across the nation during the Civil Rights Movement. For in-depth understanding about the social and political impact of Rosa Parks and her initiation of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the involvement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., please read: Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott & Jim Crow .

Topsy-Elvord and other women legends of Southern California before and  during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s shattered racial tradition in Long Beach in the same way as Rosa Parks shattered Jim Crow in the Deep South. The Southern California movement did not garner national media attention because their actions were not in the Deep Jim Crow South, where civil rights action was concentrated. The concentration in the Jim Crow south and not Jim Crow California was because the laws regarding race in the Jim Crow south were so blatantly written that challenging them presented a clearer path to victory over U.S. racial segregation for Thurgood Marshall and the team of lawyers in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

However, the efforts of these courageous women like Doris Topsy Elvord and others changed Long Beach and the rest of California. For a more complete look at the story of Doris Topsy-Elvord and the other living legends of Long Beach read: Race Relations in America and Southern California  – Twelve African American women, featured in historical profiles, BREAKING THROUGH Lighting the Way, made a difference in the history of race relations in Long Beach, California, the same way Rosa Parks changed the Jim Crow South.

Long Beach, California, Legends

(left-right, rear) Evelyn Knight, Patricia Lofland, Bobbie Smith, Alta Cooke,  Carrie Bryant, Vera Mulkey, Wilma Powell, and Doris Topsy-Elvord; (seated left-right) Autrilla Scott, Maycie Herrington, Dale Clinton and Lillie Mae Wesley (not present)

Race Relations in America and Southern California includes text, photographs and videos covering race and civil rights issues such as the Supreme Court rulings in Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. the Board of Education, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the history of Jim Crow laws, black codes, segregation in Hollywood films and entertainment, reverse discrimination in education and lynching in the Deep South. 

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash is the author of  Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s (Texas A&M University Press), chosen by the Association of American University Presses as one of its essential books for understanding race relations in the United States. The award-winning author is listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida.

Related Articles by Sunny Nash

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, affected race relations in America and early Hollywood, in that, studios had to change with the new racial climate that had relegated black actors to servants’ roles and mirrored pre-civil rights America.
Rosa Parks challenged Jim Crow laws igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott when she refused to give up her seat to another bus rider.
Rosa Parks started the Montgomery Bus Boycott to free Alabama citizens of segregated bus seating and to show the nation how to overcome the tragedy that slavery left behind. Angela Bassett becomes Rosa Parks in her portrayal of the legendary civil rights heroine.

© 2011 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 

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So That All May Read Ann Richards

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Ann Richards, Texas Monthly

A free library service distributed upon request to Texans of all ages with disabilities who are registered to receive Talking Books, Spotlight on Texas is a biannual audio publication announcing the latest audio books produced by the Texas Talking Book Program at the Volunteer Recording Studio in Austin and the Recording Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Midland, Texas.

First, we are Texans; second, we are women; we were both involved in Texas politics at one time; and fourth, books by or about us have been declared classics by the Texas Talking Book series of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and included in the latest edition of Spotlight on exas. 

 The audio version of Thorny Rose of Texas: an Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards (Carol Publishing Corporation) by Mike Shropshire and Frank Schaeffer is a biography of the sharp-tongued woman who stepped onto the national stage at the 1988 Democratic National Convention as keynote speaker and said of then Candidate George Herbert Walker Bush, “Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

I knew from the beginning that I liked Ann, not because of what she said about Mr. Bush because I liked him, too. I liked her because she said what we were thinking and thought ourselves too polite to say aloud. What she did in the end to lose the governor’s race to George W. Bush was to treat his candidacy against her without fear. She let some people around her convince her that she was so popular in Texas that she would crush him. But what she didn’t realize about him that the world has since learned is that he didn’t let people get away with insulting his father.

Born in poverty during the Great Depression, Richards attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she became a star debater. Thorny Rose of Texas: an Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards covers the personal, professional and political life of the legend who is Ann Richards, elected Governor of Texas in 1990 and defeated in 1994 by George W. Bush, son of the subject of her 1988 keynote speech. Ann Richards was the second female governor of Texas. The first was Miriam Ferguson, elected in 1924. Dorothy Ann Willis Richards, born in 1933, died in 2006.

Since 1978, Talking Book volunteers such as Linda Fox, who narrated Thorny Rose of Texas: an Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards as well as Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s by Sunny Nash, have recorded thousands of books, both fiction and nonfiction by Texas authors or about Texas history, culture and people. The program also loans users of the services playback equipment needed to listen to recorded books and magazines.

My grandmother, Bigmama, didn’t shop at Woolworth’s because black shoppers and other shoppers of color were not welcome in many stores on the Main Streets of towns like Bryan, Texas in the 1950s and 1960s. “I know this to be true because I was there during the pre-civil rights era. I write about that time in my book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s (Texas A&M University Press). Bigmama and my family taught me to rise above it and do the best I could at whatever it was I was trying to do.

Nash’s memoir of growing up in the 1950s in the Jim Crow South goes beyond descriptions of segregation and hardships, but illustrates the love and warmth of her family and community and the faith they had in her to later attend Texas A&M University and attain professional heights none before her had achieved.

Working with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Washington, DC, a program administered by the Library of Congress, the Talking Book Program provides free library services and audio books like Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s to more than 20,000 Texans per year who are unable to read printed books. Through individual services or institutions such as schools, nursing homes or hospitals, the Talking Book Program serves those with permanent or temporary visual, physical and learning impairments or disabilities that prevent them from reading standard printed books and magazines.

List of Sunny Nash Blog Posts

© 2011 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Terms for Use of Text & Image Include Link:

Social Media Marketing Gets Authors Free Book Publicity

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Authors use social media networking and web presence to get free book publicity, editorial contracts and public speaking engagements.

social media networking and bookmarketing buttons

Social Media Networking & Bookmarking Buttons

Book authors are at the mercy of the Internet and need to pay a lot more attention to creating a web presence if they hope to compete in this new marketplace. Creating a web presence can be as simple as joining a social media network to developing a website or blog. There is a vast amount of virtual real estate in between, including Internet communities, content-providing blogs, mini blogs, micro blogs, interest groups, political forums and other conversational crowds vying to waste your time and get you to spend your money.

One of the difficulties of today’s communications are the tons of information that accompany our searches on the internet. Just key in an inquiry and count the number of responses your keywords reveal–millions! We must constantly protect ourselves from information overload and be sure not to mistake information for knowledge. Information is not knowledge.

About Sunny Nash:

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

I take advantage of the new book marketing avenues to market my own book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, chosen by the Association of American University Presses as essential for understanding race relations in the United States, listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida. Nash has work in the African American National Biography by Harvard and Oxford; African-American West, Century of Short Stories; Reflections in Black, History of Black Photographers 1840 – Present; Ancestry; Companion to Southern Literature; Texas Through Women’s Eyes; Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy; African American Foodways; Southwestern American Literature Journal; The Source: guidebook to American genealogy; Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics; Ebony Magazine; Hidden Sources: Family History in Unlikely Places; and others.

Read the entire story at: Social Media Marketing Gets Authors Free Book PublicityAuthors use social media networking, social media book marking and web presence to get free book publicity, editorial contracts and public speaking engagements.

© 2011 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Terms for Use of Text & Image Include Link: 

Articles on the Woolworth’s Sit-ins

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Woolworth's Sit-ins, Greensboro, North Carolina

Four well-dressed black college freshmen, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. (later known as Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond, from the traditionally black college, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, known as the Greensboro Four, challenged Jim Crow laws when they sat down at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter.

The young men asked politely to be served, sparking similar protests and racial demonstrations across the nation in the south and the north. These  young college freshmen, who had earned the deserving title of the Greensboro Four, were refused service at the lunch counter because Woolworth ‘s headquarters had decreed that the company policy was “to abide by local custom.” Local custom, of course, was Jim Crow custom.

The persistence of the Greensboro Four every day following that first day caused other students, including female and white students, to join them. As news spread over the nation, similar actions were repeated in other cities across America, bringing down the old Jim Crow laws  that represented segregation and overt discrimination against African Americans and other non-white people.

For more information on the Woolworth’s Sit-ins and topics related to this significant American historical era, read the following articles.

Race Relations in America, the Woolworth’s Sit-ins – Woolworth’s sit-ins by black and white college students to integrate lunch counters in Greensboro NC between in 1960 observed nonviolence from Rosa Parks, changing race relations in the Jim Crow South and across the nation.

Land Grants, Race Relations and Woolworth’sThe Greensboro Four who led the 1960 Woolworth’s sit-ins, were from a traditionally black college funded under the 1890 Morrill Land Grant College Act. This article shows you how to write search engine friendly web content to get free publicity for your book and to use your talents and interests–cooking, sports, music, history or other–to become an expert in your field and a public speaker on your topic.

Justin Morrill Land Grant College Acts, 1862 & 1890Justin Smith Morrill fought Jim Crow laws writing Land Grant College Acts of 1862 and 1890 to educate black and white students and, 100 years later, land grant college students protested Jim Crow laws by leading the Woolworth’s Sit-ins in Greensboro NC in 1960.

List of Sunny Nash Race Relations Blogger Posts


bigmama didn't shop at woolworths book

Bigmama Didn't Shop nAt Woolworth's by Sunny Nash

My book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, began when I was writing columns for Hearst and Knight-Ridder Newspapers in the 1990s. The columns were comprised of stories from my childhood in the pre-civil rights Jim Crow South with my grandmother, Bigmama, my parents, relatives, friends, teachers and others in my life. I had no idea that these little vignettes would garner so much interest nationwide. But they did.

With that, a managing editor at Texas A&M University Press, Mary Lenn Dixon, saw the merit in compiling these stories into a book and approached me about creating a manuscript of selected articles for review and eventual publication. What a break! I agreed. And the book was born. When Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s came out, it was selected as a resource for understanding race relations in the United States by the Association of American University Presses. As a result, some authorities consider me a leading author on race relations, quoting me in articles and reference books, and including my work in anthologies.

 Listed in the Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies by the Schomburg Center in New York, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s is also recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida. Because my family has deep roots in Comanche heritage, Native American collections have begun to use my book to look at the connections its makes between African American and Native American bloodlines and culture in the Central Texas region.

Robin Fruble of Southern California said, “Every white person in America should read this book (Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s)! Sunny Nash writes the story of her childhood without preaching or ranting but she made me realize for the first time just how much skin color changes how one experiences the world.  But, if your skin color is brown, it matters a great deal to a great number of people. I needed to learn that. Sunny Nash is a great teacher,” Fruble said.

© 2011 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Terms for Use of Text & Images Include Link:

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