That Mean Old Yesterday A Memoir

ISBN-10: 0743293118
ISBN-13: 9780743293112
Edition: N/A
Authors: Stacey Patton
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Description: That Mean Old Yesterdayis anastonishing coming-of-age memoirby a young woman who survivedthe foster care system to become anaward-winning journalist. No one would ever imagine that the vibrant,smart, and attractive Stacey Patton had achildhood from  More...

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Book details

List price: $20.99
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 9/16/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

That Mean Old Yesterdayis anastonishing coming-of-age memoirby a young woman who survivedthe foster care system to become anaward-winning journalist. No one would ever imagine that the vibrant,smart, and attractive Stacey Patton had achildhood from hell. Once a foster child whofound a home, she was supposed to be amongthe lucky. On a rainy night in November 1999,a shoeless Stacey, promising student at NYU,headed down a New Jersey street toward heradoptive parents' house. She carried a gun inher pocket, and she kept repeating to herselfthat she would pull the trigger. She wanted tokill them. Or so she thought. This is a story of how a typical Americanfamily can be undermined by its own effortto be perfect on the surface. After all, withGod-fearing, house-proud, and hardworkingadoptive parents, Stacey appeared to beatthe odds. But her mother was tyrannical, andher father, either so in love with or in fear ofhis wife, turned a blind eye to the abuse sheheaped on their love-starved little girl. InThat Mean Old Yesterday, a little girlrises above the tyranny of an overzealousmother by channeling her intellectual energyinto schoolwork. Wise beyond her years,she can see that her chances for survival areadvanced through her struggle to get into anelite boarding school. She uses all she has, a brilliant mind, to link her experience to thelegacy of American slavery and to successfullyframe her understanding of why her goodadoptive parents did terrible things to her byrealizing that they had terrible things done tothem.

Stacey Patton is currently a graduate student pursuing her PhD in history at Rutgers University. She is also a professor at Montclair State University. She has written forThe Washington Post,The Baltimore Sun,New York Newsday, andScholasticmagazine and is the recipient of numerous journalism awards and academic honors. She resides in New York. To learn more about Stacey Patton visit www.staceypatton.com.

Some black children living on antebellum plantations often had no idea they were slaves. During their early years, they played not only with other slave children but also white children. They wandered freely and explored the plantations. Sometimes masters, especially if they were the biological fathers of slave children, took young slaves horseback riding, cuddled them, and rewarded them with gifts and other special treatment.
But most slave children did not have such an idyllic beginning. Children were the most vulnerable in the slave community, which was characteristically fraught with violence. White youth, at the urging of adults, often abused their black playmates. Older black children meted out cruelty on the smaller ones. Slave children played games like hide-the-switch. One child would hide a willow switch, and the others would search for it. The lucky one to find it got to whip other children at will, mimicking the behaviors they saw whites mete out to their parents and black parents dish out onto black children.
In addition to many forms of verbal, physical, and psychological abuse, slave children faced the threat of being sold at any time. Children often didn't know their biological parents and could be detached at any time from people who were familiar to them because they or those people were sold and shipped off to other plantations. The births of black children helped replenish a cheap labor force and perpetuate the system. During slavery, black children had economic value even before they were born. As property, they could be used not only for their labor but also as collateral for mortgages, to buy land, and to pay other types of debts. Their bondage also helped define what it meant to be white and free.
Slave children died in droves because they were not properly cared for. Old women, slightly older siblings, or inexperienced mothers had the impossible task of taking care of a large number of children in the plantation nursery. Like adult slaves, children were fed improperly and suffered many illnesses. Despite all this jeopardy, family, such as it was in plantation society, was an important survival mechanism for slave children. Family served as a comfort and layer of protection, as well as a buffer between the humanity of youngsters and the evils of the peculiar institution.
Copyright � 2007 by Stacey Patton

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