Do you have a special library memory?
When I was a little girl my neighborhood in the Bronx had no library. Every week a bookmobile would come and I would take out as many books as possible. I am grateful for that bookmobile and I also wish that one of the librarians, who saw me every week, had taken an interest in me and guided my reading. This never happened, likely because it was the 1950s and I was a little black girl in an all-white neighborhood. I know the librarians at the Jones Library make connections with marginalized youth and others in need.
Is there a member of this community who has been instrumental to your writing?
For many years, I wrote with Pat Schneider in her weekly writing group for women. Her encouragement and that of the other women in the group made all the difference. I remember my last visit to Pat in the nursing home when I was still looking for a publisher. She did everything to make sure my book got published. Her mentorship meant so much and I miss her still.
Do you have a favorite book that is set in or is about the Pioneer Valley or New England?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Like many other young women of my generation who wanted to be writers, I was inspired by Jo March. I also believe that somewhere in that story lay the roots of my feminism.
Why did you write your new book?
I wrote this book so that young women of color and other young activists would know about their foremothers and the work we did for social change and intersectionality in the 1970s. Much has been written about The Third World Women's Alliance, but I want young women to hear the story from the women who lived it. This book is meant to inform and inspire action for equity and justice.
Patricia's Favorite Books (with her comments)
I read a lot of non-fiction and love memoir, in particular. The books I’ve listed, in different ways, have opened a path for me and mirrored back to me who I am and what I care about.
[NOTE: Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage by Pauli Murray was later reissued as Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest, and Poet.]