Review: A Wealth of Wisdom by Camille Cosby and Renee Poussaint

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I know. I promise to get better at this photography thing.

A Wealth of Wisdom is a collection of interviews with legendary African American elders who have in one way or another influenced modern America in terms racism and segregation. It tells of their life stories and the wisdom they have to share to the younger generation.

I chanced upon this book at a book sale and let me tell you, it was dirt cheap. And now that I have finished it, I could not for the life of me imagine who would let go of this treasure! Before I sat down and wrote this review, I was trying to think of the perfect description, but I couldn’t. I looked at its cover and thought “You stupid, it’s right in front of you!” because indeed, it is a Wealth of Wisdom! And can I just say, when I saw Maya Angelou on the first interview, I was ultimately sold! Tell me about power woman!

can we just admire how cute my bookmark is?

can we just admire how cute my bookmark is?

Let’s be clear, I am not in any way black or african american or even american for that matter. But, the struggle with slavery and racism by the african american population is known worldwide. Racism in fact is everywhere and is an issue of humanity and not of nationality. It is an issue of the world and not isolated in a single country. I picked this up with the expectation of closing it with a sigh of satisfaction and I was not disheartened. I was in awe of the people in the book.

To be honest, I have no idea who half of these people are, but that made me want to read it more! All I knew of about the fight for civil rights was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and that was it. Reading about all these inspiring people, it made me appreciate the value of hard work, and dreams, and equality. These are real stories, from real people who walk their talk. They have that ultimate license to the famous line “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT”. They teach you about courage and belief.

It was raw which made it a refreshing read. I felt like every time a section regarding a person ends, a grandma is leaving for the province. It was sad but her stories were so full of wisdom they are reassuring. I like talking to my grandparents so it did not bore me one bit. I found myself highlighting parts of the book. Do you write on your books? Do you highlight them? Comment me on your thoughts about it! Back to the book, I just found myself disagreeing and nodding and smiling and thinking wow. I almost raised my hands to the roof at times and said

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This is a book I would recommend young people to read. I would have my (future) children read this to learn the real lessons they have to learn about respect and kindness. One thing I would say is that it is not a one-day or one-sitting read. I found myself contemplating on the things I’ve read in the middle of reading. I disagree or check my own beliefs while reading this. You think when you read this book. It doesn’t feed you with a story. It makes you interact with it, and gives you with things to ponder upon. It makes you wonder, and contemplate, and process, and realize. It’s a conversation piece. It may at times be unsettling, but in a good way.

Having been flailing for the last few paragraphs about this book, one thing I can say is that it may probably a wee bit too much for some people. I would say it has some controversial views coming from the people interviewed. It is not a book for everybody. One may find himself too tired of racism, and segregation, and inequality for one book which is another reason why I said that it may not be a book you read all at once. It discusses a sensitive issue, one that people nowadays think has been addressed. However, like the common theme of all of the people interviewed, the world has made progress, but it isn’t fast enough as we want it. It is an inspiring book – full of wisdom and thought. It is rich and sincere. I’ve learned a lot, about the world and people, and how I see them.

So, should you read it?

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