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Sunny Nash

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

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Category: 

Biography

Publisher:  Texas A&M University ISBN-10:  0890967164
Pages: 

186

Copyright:  August 1, 1996 ISBN-13:  9780890967164

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

“Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s,” chosen by the Association of American University Presses for its value in understanding U.S. race relations, is a book about Sunny Nash’s life with her part-Comanche grandmother in the Jim Crow South during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, chosen by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) for its value in understanding U.S. race relations, is a book about Sunny Nash’s life with her part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, in the Jim Crow South during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

AAUP designation allows Sunny Nash to write with authority on topics that range from the history of Jim Crow Laws to African Americans on the Western Frontier to the Land Grant College Acts to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the Woolworth Sit-ins and beyond.

Amazon Book Review: (Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's) This book tells the story of her family life during the 1950s, when segregation was on its way out but still quite present in her life. Her family chose to live as African Americans, though they had an equal claim to Comanche heritage, feeling that life was somewhat safer as an African American than as a Native American. Nash learned little about Comanche mores, language, or stories. Her writing is engaging, her family interesting, especially her remarkable, part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, who taught Nash how to overcome adversity. Nash tells a story of the wrongs of racial prejudice familiar to anyone who lived through the times she describes; but as those times recede into the past, it is good to have them recorded for posterity. Recommended for black studies or Texas history collections, but libraries collecting extensively in Native American history may also wish to consider it.?Anita L. Cole, Miami-Dade P.L. System, Fla. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt
In “My Grandmother’s Sit-in,” an essay in Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, which is included in Glencoe literature: the reader's choice, Nash, a little girl at the time, tells of her experience with Bigmama at a segregated hospital in Navasota, Texas. When Bigmama was ignored at the reception desk, Nash followed her to the seating areas and remembers the colored and white only signs above the benches. Nash writes:

Like a smoking gun, Bigmama stood there staring at the sign, studying it. That was curious to me. She knew how to read. Why was she staring at the word 'colored' like she’d never seen it before? After all, 'colored' and 'white only' were the first words southerners learned to read and the only words illiterate southerners recognized.


Professional Reviews

Library Journal
Nash, who is now a writer, photographer, and television producer, grew up in Bryan, a segregated Texas town. This book tells the story of her family life during the 1950s, when segregation was on its way out but still quite present in her life. Her family chose to live as African Americans, though they had an equal claim to Comanche heritage, feeling that life was somewhat safer as an African American than as a Native American. Nash learned little about Comanche mores, language, or stories. Her writing is engaging, her family interesting, especially her remarkable, part-Comanche grandmother, Bigmama, who taught Nash how to overcome adversity. Nash tells a story of the wrongs of racial prejudice familiar to anyone who lived through the times she describes; but as those times recede into the past, it is good to have them recorded for posterity. Recommended for black studies or Texas history collections, but libraries collecting extensively in Native American history may also wish to consider it.?Anita L. Cole, Miami-Dade P.L. System, Fla.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


School Library Journal
YA-A collection of vignettes about growing up in the segregated neighborhood of Candy Hill in Bryan, TX, during the 1950s. Nash offers glimpses of poverty, prejudice, and the indignities of having few civil rights. The harshness was softened by loving, caring family members and neighbors. Nash was especially fond of her grandmother, a wise and wonderful woman who, having been born in 1896, knew the history of civil-rights laws. Nash's writing makes readers feel they are there, experiencing the characters' anxieties, fears, joys, and hope. Young people will learn a lot from this book; it is poignant in its teachings about discrimination.-Rebecca C. Burgee, Pimmit Hills Alternative High School, Falls Church, VA



Barnes and Noble
On the outskirts of Bryan, Tex., was Candy Hill, a poor, black neighborhood like it's more aptly named neighbor Graveyard Line. Nash's memories of growing up in Candy Hill during the 1950s and early '60s are told in short vignettes gathered into loosely themed chapters. Nash's mother was a beautiful, distant woman who would force her daughter to learn willy nilly. Because her mother worked, Nash's upbringing was largely overseen by her part-Comanche grandmother, a strong, proud woman who was fanatically clean (she handled money with tweezers). Not surprisingly, the occasional fond memory of childhood in Candy Hill is overshadowed by bitterness. Nash was three when she learned her first wordcolored. "`I'm sorry I have to teach you this ugly word, colored," her grandmother told her. "But if I don't make you understand, you'll have one hurt after another all of your life." And then there was the violence of Candy Hill, most touchingly rendered in a section titled "Shooting Without a Gun." Here, Nash recalls her grandmother looking for a photograph after hearing that a cousin had been shot by her abusive boyfriend. Brilliantly, she weaves between her grandmother's worrying about the absence of a photograph to help her remember the dead and her own thoughts of where she might get bullets to repay the killer. The writing is sometimes clichd ("I thought I saw a tear sparkle on my mother's cheek as that day's last sunlight stroked her face"), and the dialogue is filled with inspiring but not terribly natural locutions. What Nash does best is open a window on a neighborhood where heroism was often a matter of just getting by. (Oct.)


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