Essay about Having Our Say

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BookRags Literature Study Guide

Having Our Say (novel) by Sarah Louise Delany

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The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do
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At the time the book was written in 1991, Sadie was 103 years old, Bessie was 101 years old. Despite their advanced ages, Sadie still took on the role of big sister, protecting Bessie from a world she had conquered long ago. In a time when many black families were relegated to less than acceptable employment and living conditions, the Delany family rose above, eventually becoming one of the most prominent families in black America and the country as a whole.

Henry Beard Delany, the women's father, was freed from slavery at seven years of age. In his early twenties, Delany was offered the chance to go to college. He converted to the Episcopal faith and went to St. Augustine's School. Delany would continue to be ambitious throughout his life, eventually becoming a bishop. All ten of the Delany children went to college, a high standard in the modern world and almost unheard of in the early 1900s, especially for blacks.

At the time of Delany's career, the family was relatively unknown outside their hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. In a book written by Gail Lumet Buckley, the daughter of songstress Lena Horne, the Delanys would rank at the very top of black intelligentsia.

The black press chronicled the family's ascent. The Delanys were not without their share of detractors, many of which were lower-class black families. Many of the detractors thought the Delany clan was attempting to live outside its