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Charlotte A Clark-Frieson

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Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, The Unconquerable Soul Of Wilkie Clark
by Charlotte A Clark-Frieson   

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Publisher:  Wilkie Clark's Daughter Enterprises, LLC ISBN-10:  0977140105 Type: 


ISBN-13:  9780977140107

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The poignant, powerful life story of Wilkie Clark is lovingly penned by his only child, Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson.

The poignant, powerful life story of Wilkie Clark is lovingly penned by his only child, Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson. It celebrates a man who enlarged himself to untold dimensions, as he struggled to serve humanity and liberate an entire community of oppressed people. He stood tall under the unbelievable weight of Jim Crow. This book takes a broad but serious look at the economics of racism as it was practiced in the south. As no one else could, the author translates her love, reverence and respect for her father into a moving statement of his life, works, trials, tribulations, victories & triumphs. It's a "must-read" for anyone facing the question of how to turn your dream into reality, despite life's unending adversities. "Telling daddy's story literally became the "healing balm" that's helped me come to terms with the continuing battle for spiritual, social, and human affirmation that have persisted throughout my life despite the apparent racial progress that has been observed during my own lifetime."

Professional Reviews

The Sage Of Alabama, by Reginald Sinclair Lewis
It is easy to gaze tearfully across the barren landscape of present day America, a rotting cauldron brimming over with moral decay, hopelessness, joblessness, drugs, crime, political corruption, and the invidious self-hatred that is fueling the staggering high statistics of black-on-black homicides throughout the African-American community- and assume we are a people who was never sent a Prophet, Civil Rights Leaders, Poet, Teachers, Sages, or Revolutionary icons. When we look around, there's a pitiful paucity of even a semblance of the Malcolm Xs, Martin Luther Kings, Elijah Muhammads, Marcus Garveys, Noble Drew Alis, Huey Newtons, Frederick Douglasses, or some other North America produced Shining Black Prince whose fiery and eloquent speeches are all that's needed to rouse the unconscious masses from the Bondage of Babylonian captivity. And while these Civil Rights figures rose to national prominence indelibly etched into our collective psyche- few books are written about the amazing achievements of lesser known black men who toiled in small town America- such as Wilkie Clark.

In this powerful biography, daughter/author Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson, brilliantly captures the essence and boundless soul of a courageous self-made man who literally rose from the dust to respectability in the worlds of business, finance, civil rights, and politics. With meticulous detail the author paints a disturbing portrait of the impoverished conditions and how dismal life was like growing up in Randolph County, Alabama.

"…we were about 100 years behind times in that respect, and it seems like every time we tried to do something to advance or raise our standard of living, we had to take up arms and prepare to do battle in one way or another," Ms. Clark-Frieson writes.

Against the backdrop of the most ugly, hostile, and inviolably segregated climate of the south, she conjures up memories as a small child accompanying her father during a simple shopping trip in town that almost cost them their lives. When the driver of a truck bumped her father's car, little Charlotte, a sassy, precocious child, scolded the white man and protested loudly. The wide-eyed terror and fear she experienced as the white man calmly got out of his truck, and menacingly pointed the double-barreled shotgun at them was an early lesson about racism, the inequitable distribution of power that gave white men the unquestionable right to commit unspeakable crimes against helpless black folks- and go "Scott Free." Decades later, as the "only black school board member" in Randolph County, the author would single handedly lead the protest against the White Principal of one of the largest schools in Alabama who attempted to preclude students from bringing a date of another race to the high school prom- a controversial event that made National News. Told in flashbacks and flash forwards, the author deftly winds through a torturous labyrinth of events as she chronicles Wilkie Clark's life journey from a boy to a man and we are even privy to the enormous moment he catches the fire and incendiary passion from the civil rights speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, the soul-stirring, mind-altering words that literally transforms him into a Salvific figure endowed with an almost Prophetic vision of justice and prosperity and economic empowerment for his people. In his personal crusade, he fights City Hall, his most vociferous detractors, attends City Council meetings, Civil Rights protests, and meets the cold-eyed glare of the brow-beating White bankers who assail him with a fusillade of verbal insults while using pretextual reasons to deny him loans to start up his many business ventures.

Despite oppositions, Wilkie Clark was not an angry, embittered black man. He seethes privately, quietly, as he mourns man's cruelty to man. And he justifiably rails against a white male patriarchal system that unfailingly rewards white mediocrity over black excellence and superior work ethic, historically, tragically, ignore, passed over, and dismissed.

This book also acts as a primer for those struggling to succeed in the corporate and business worlds. The author dispenses sound advice on investments, economics, venture capital, supply and demand, marketing, accounting, and how to keep your business from failing. Interspersed throughout this book are delightful poems, excerpts, and quotes from notable celebrities, wise men, sages, and philosophers that perfectly compliment the preceding chapters and add lustre to Wilkie Clark's powerful aura and colorful persona. In the "Dirty South," where violence was used to keep the black man "in his place," the author records not a single instance where her father resorted to violence. Though, she writes: "He was proud of his skill in handling a weapon. In the military he had earned the sharpshooter's medal for his excellent marksmanship." A man endowed with a gentle, dove-like spirit, he didn't even wish comeuppance on the jealous, green-eyed scoundrels who erected visible and invisible obstacles in his path. He was so determined to succeed few could stop him. He was a generous soul who never demanded the repayment of loans he infrequently co-signed for. The reader is left little room to grieve for Wilkie. He lived the lives of 50 men in his years on the planet. Nor do they have to wonder if he bequeathed the author his passion, enterprising spirit, ambition, intellectual curiosity, and incessant need to succeed.

We are silent witnesses to one of the more searing emotional moments in the book as he instills in his daughter the importance of pursing her education, during one of their long summer drives through the county. Gazing over at "Noel Foster's Place," where his poor Mother was forced to work in the cotton fields. The white man forbid her from enrolling young Wilkie in school so he could work the fields.

"I wanted to go to school so bad," he lamented.

"Deliberately choosing not to look directly at him," Ms. Frieson writes, "I could nevertheless catch glimpses of big tears welling in the inside corners of his eyes as we cruised the area."

Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson's writing sparkles with brilliance and dazzle and Journalistic integrity. The author lovingly, affectionately, tells the story of her doting father who was as big as the world. A man of fierce, uncompromising convictions. Who made no excuses about his race or color. Who lowered his wings in mercy. Who refused to bow down, or allow his dignity to be usurped, or his manhood broken by a white supremist rule indifferent to the plight of the dark children of Almighty God. Like an anointed Captain of his own ship, he navigated around the turbulent waves of hatred and did not allow the racial tenor of the times to defer his dreams. The author honestly points out his few flaws- he was not above cussing, drinking, and flirting with women. But that's what made him approachable, human, and angelic.

How many daughters (of any race)- love their fathers, living or dead, so assiduously, and with such reverence, and majesty, as to honor their legacy by immortalizing him in a book, a website, and an organization in his name?

Chief Cook and bottle-Washer unearths layers and dimensions of a proud and courageous civil rights leader in the dangerous south. Wilkie Clark was a builder, soldier, teacher, visionary, mortician, servant, philosopher, businessman, philanthropist, revolutionary, husband, father, preacher, and entrepreneur. Wilkie Clark was a helluva man.

Reginald Sinclair Lewis is a widely-published, award-winning Black poet, essayist, and a playwright- soon to be released from Pennsylvania's death row. He is the author of two books of poetry. His most recent book is entitled, Where I'm Writing From: Essays From Pennsylvania's Death Row...

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