Thank you for purchasing Mary’s Story & Song by Mary Haralson Coleman with Starkishia.
Mary was born in 1933 in Scott, County Mississippi to sharecroppers. Her memoir described her two fathers as the most significant people in her childhood. One of them was impoverished and indebted to white landowners, and the other owned property and was independent. They agreed to expose Mary to both worlds. Change is hard, but Mary found her way, and the inspiration to dream. With the gift of song and the mind to step out of the box, Mary broke ground in business and in song.
EXCERPT: At age six, I, along with my siblings attended a one room school, where … Mr. McCarter taught first through eighth grade. We carried our lunch to school in small molasses buckets which consisted of whatever we had left over from the previous day. We did not eat sandwiches like children do today; we ate peas, greens, salt meat and cornbread. Sometimes we had a baked sweet potato for dessert.
Advance Praise for Mary’s Story & Song
Mrs. Coleman has written a book that everyone should read. We were both born in 1933 and lived in Mississippi during the years of the Black Civil Rights Movement. Her life is a living reality of the Black struggle and a greater true picture of the changes that occurred. I loved it.
James Meredith, Ole Miss, 1962
While this book is a personal account of the life of Mary Coleman, it is one with which we can all identify and cherish. I am sure that this historical account of her life will be something that generations coming after her will be able to use to get an understanding of from whence they came.
Judge William Walker
Mary’s Story and Song chronicles the great strides and struggles in the transformative life of the Haralson Family from slavery to freedom! Mrs. Coleman’s soft-spoken style and positive outlook is evident throughout this book and makes for a spirited autobiography that reads like a novel. It will serve as Mrs. Coleman’s testimony for many generations to come.
Thank you for purchasing “Mary’s Story & Song” a memoir about the life of Mary Haralson Coleman of Scott County, Mississippi. Ms. Coleman grew up in the Jim Crow south with her family who were poor Negro sharecroppers.
Despite her humble beginnings, Mary excelled in life, in business, and in music. Mr. Haralson, a white Scott County, Mississippi landowner, purchased Mary’s ancestors – the entire family on the auction block in Virginia. Mary’s family and another family which Mr. Haralson purchased walked behind Mr. Haralson’s wagon and took turns riding on the back of the wagon from Virginia to Scott County, Mississippi. After slavery during Reconstruction, the Negro Haralsons became landowners. Mary’s maternal family became sharecroppers.
In addition, while sharecropping gave African Americans autonomy in their daily work and social lives, and freed them from the gang-labor system that had dominated during the slavery era, it often resulted in sharecroppers owing more to the landowner (for the use of tools and other supplies, for example) than they were …
Sharecropping… High interest rates, unpredictable harvests, and unscrupulous landlords and merchants often kept tenant farm families severely indebted, requiring the debt to be carried over until the next year or the next. Laws favoring landowners made it difficult or even illegal for sharecroppers to sell their crops to others besides their landlord, or prevented sharecroppers from moving if they were indebted to their landlord.
After reading “Mary’s Story & Song” compare sharecropping with Mass Incarceration. ***Laws favoring landowners made it difficult or even illegal for sharecroppers to sell their crops. Crops ($$$$) belonged to landowner as it did during slavery. ***drug-code violations targeted people of color. ***The federal laws and the state legislature set the system up.
The term “mass incarceration” refers to the unique way the U.S. has locked up a vast population in federal and state prisons, as well as local jails.
Legislators enacted policies that led to more people being locked away for increasingly smaller offenses… combined with policies that kept people locked up longer.
The prison population skyrocketed.
“We must understand our history to influence policy makers. Owning land, homes, businesses, products, and valuable assets is the America dream. Laws and policies over land, homes, businesses, products, and the media is in the hands of the 1 percent. Sweeping Public Policy reforms are needed to undo racial economic inequality.”