Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Autobiography At Marcus Book Stores

leebook.jpg“Her sense of justice – and injustice – runs about as deep as it’s possible to go.”  Those are the words of BONO, lead singer of U2 and cofounder of the anti-poverty organization ONE, written on the back of the cover of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s first book.
Lee’s passion for justice and peace are better understood as you read her uninhibited life story which included domestic violence, teen pregnancy, abortion and public assistance.  She opens the book with the story of her birth which was surrounded with racism and inhumane treatment as her Mother, Mildred Massey, in need of a Cesarean Section, was refused admission to Hotel Dieu Hospital in El Paso, Texas. She remembers her father and step-father who served in the Army and “returned to America where racism, segregation, and degradation were legally institutionalized by the government”.
Her grandfather’s strong religious convictions set a tone for the family and Lee’s book is replete with her dependence on Spiritual guidance.  She was a Roman Catholic, as a young person, joined The Church For Today, a non-denominational church as an adult, and is currently a member of Allen Temple Baptist Church.
Lee details a rich heritage of friends including Shirley Chisholm, who she invited to Mills College, while a student there. Lee speaks of Chisholm’s campaign slogan, “I am unbought and unbossed and a catalyst for change!”, and took it to heart in her own life. She remembers W. Hazaiah Williams, “who strengthened my conviction”, Huey Newton, a close friend, Betty Shabazz, Maudelle Shirek, Ron Dellums. and numerous others who have enriched her life and strengthened her convictions.
Lee’s profile in courage is lengthy and didn’t just start with her lone vote opposing the war in Iraq.  She has been a leader in promoting policies fostering peace, security and human rights and has been an advocate for communities of color and the poor. Her book tells of her work addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic and efforts to end genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan.
Lee leaves little unsaid.  While speaking of deep insecurities as a child, her book reveals a rare kind of security. She speaks the difficult truths in hopes that others may learn from them…
Lee’s book is currently available at Marcus Book Stores only.  The first book signing was scheduled at Allen Temple Baptist Church on Oct. 15.  Others will be announced in the Post. Marcus Book Stores are located at 3900 Martin Luther King in Oakland, (510-652-2344) and 1714 Filmore in San Francisco (415-346-4222).