Oct 13, 2010

Condoleezza Rice describes youth in segregated ...
I know a lot of people that dislike Dr. Condoleezza Rice.  They will go down a litany of reasons (some justifiable) of why they hate the former Secretary of State, but for me personally, I've never felt this way about her.  I actually quite admire her.  We may differ vastly in our political views, but I still can admire her many achievements and so should other black people.  Dr. Rice's achievements are a testament to tenacity, talent, brilliance, and a loving, nuturing family.  We might not agree with her politically, but we have to admit she represents the best of Black America and hence the best of America; besides, she was arguably the smartest person in the Bush Administration and everybody in the world knew it.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has written a memoir that has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction, but instead looks at her upbringing in the racially segregated southern United States.

Rice, 55, is the author of "Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family," which went on sale Tuesday.

Rice was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, a southern industrial city that was also the heart of the African-American struggle for civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s.

As a top official in George W. Bush's administration -- first as head of the national security council, then as the top US diplomat -- Rice was one of the most powerful women in the world.

But when she was a child, Rice wrote that she and her family were treated as second-class citizens.

Birmingham in the 1950s "was the most segregated big city in America, and daily life was full of demeaning reminders of the second-class citizenship accorded to blacks. Whites and blacks lived in parallel worlds, their paths crossing uneasily in only a few public places," wrote Rice in the book.

"Ironically, because it was so segregated, black parents were able, in large part, to control the environment in which they raised their children," she said. "They rigorously regulated the messages that we received and shielded us by imposing high expectations and a determined insistence on excellence."

By 1963 racial violence was rampant, with two bombs exploding in her neighborhood and later four black girls killed in the bombing of a Baptist church.

When then-president John F. Kennedy was shot dead Rice reacted with fear -- "for black citizens of Birmingham, his murder was personally threatening," she wrote.

Rice moved with her family to Denver, Colorado in 1967, where she went to a private all-girl Catholic school, then went to college at the age of 16 and studied under Josef Korbel, the father Madeleine Albright, secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under president Bill Clinton.

Rice also writes about learning to play the piano at age three, and describes the enormous importance her father John, a Presbyterian minister, and mother Angelena placed on education.My parents were determined to give me a chance to live a unique and happy life. In that they succeeded," Rice wrote.

The book ends in 2000, when George W. Bush is elected president. The next eight years is to be chronicled in an upcoming political memoir due out in 2011, according to her publishers, The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House.


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