What Mama Taught Me (Brown)

What Mama Taught Me: The Seven Core Values of Life
Tony Brown, 2003
240 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780060934309

Millions of viewers of Tony Brown's Journal, the longest-running series on PBS, know Tony Brown as an advocate for self-reliance and self-enrichment. Now, in his most personal book yet, he introduces us to the woman who brought him up and taught him the seven core values he lives by to this day: reality, knowledge, race, history, truth, patience, and love.

What Mama Taught Me states that only by understanding one's place in the world can one become free in mind and spirit, which is the path to true success. Brown argues that by following other people's rules, we betray ourselves and our desires, resulting in a vicious cycle of disconnection, unhappiness, and spiritual death./

Enhanced by the homespun storytelling he heard as a child, this is Brown's personal recipe for achievement, imparting values that provide a blueprint for reaching success and happiness — on one's own terms. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—April 11. 1933;
Education—B.A., M.A., Wayne State University (USA);
Awards—member, Silver Circle, National Academy of
   Television Arts & Sciences

Tony Brown hosts Tony Brown's Journal, the longest-running series on PBS. He is also the host of the radio call-in show Tony Brown on WLS-ABC Chicago, and is the author of Black Lies, White Lies and Empower the People. A sought-after speaker, he lives in New York City. (From the publisher.)

• 1971, he became the founding dean of Howard University's School of Communication.

• 1989, he wrote, directed, produced and distributed a dramatic movie with an anti-drug message, The White Girl.

• 2002, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle.

• 2004, he became the dean of Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Throughout the 1980s, Brown was instrumental in improving the outlook and atmosphere for African Americans in the academic world. He launched "Black College Day" in 1982, in what was called a one-man effort to save and support colleges dedicated to serving blacks. In 1985, he founded the Council for the Economic Development of Black Americans, whose motto is "Buy Freedom." The group's main platform is that blacks should patronize businesses displaying the "Freedom Seal," which signified a black owner who had agreed to be courteous, offer competitive prices, provide employment, give discounts, and stay involved in the community.

Brown's most inspired attempt to reach African Americans through the media came in 1988, when he released a cautionary film about cocaine abuse titled The White Girl. He wrote, directed, produced, and distributed the film himself, and while it was panned by the critics, it gave Brown a medium in which to address what he perceived as "two destructive trends in society: drug addiction and self-hate." Ignoring the negative reviews, he circulated the film throughout the black community for the next 18 months. Local groups showed it for a small profit, benefiting both Brown and charitable causes. (From Wikipedia)

Book Reviews
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In a meandering volume full of personal anecdotes and indirectly phrased advice, Brown uses himself as an informal case study to prove that self-empowerment is the key to success. The conviction was bred into him by the woman he called Mama: Elizabeth Sanford, who was not a relation, rescued him at the age of two months from near starvation and raised him as her own. And Brown (Black Lies, White Lies), host of PBS's Tony Brown's Journal, attributes his achieve-ments to the lessons he learned from her as a child. A poor, uneducated black Charleston maid, Sanford nonetheless instructed her adopted son in what she saw as life's fundamental values. In an atmosphere of unquestioning love she taught him to be true to himself, to invest in his abilities and to live joyfully. Brown participated in the early Civil Rights struggle with Martin Luther King, Jr., and soon decided that mass media was the best way to get his message across. A firm believer in black self-empowerment, he criticizes welfare and race-based college admission programs, and charges some black leaders with encouraging followers to victimize themselves and play the "racial blame game." Among other ideas, he recommends that African-Americans empower themselves by investing and spending money in their own communities. While not all will agree with his beliefs, many will enjoy his personal recollections of a childhood he spent with an inspiring woman.
Publishers Weekly

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