Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Presidential diarist and author Janis F. Kearney transforms civil rights legend Daisy Gatson Bates’ life from black and white, to living color. The author, who interviewed Bates many times; recreates her conversations and interviews to “fill in” places left un-filled, and colors incidents and experiences, to bring Daisy Bates to life. Kearney plums the mysterious murder of Bates’ mother, and the orphan’s childhood; the young woman’s prophetic decision to share a traveling salesman’s life; her non-traditional role as co-publisher of an award winning newspaper; and her leadership role at a time, and place where women rarely led.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Daisy’s “look back” at her life, and…finally, a self-analysis of how, and possibly, why she became the Daisy Gatson Bates for which she is known throughout the world. Author Janis F. Kearney recounts the leader’s many friendships, relationships and associations that helps define who she was in the eyes of the world – from Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.; Roy Wilson, NAACP President; Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton, NAACP attorneys, Maya Angelou and Jackie Robinson… and countless others.
The author met Daisy Bates in the summer of 1969, at the age of16. From that moment, the high school student dreamed of working for the woman her father called one of Arkansas’ greatest leaders – black or white. The book is based on the author’s personal interviews, oral histories, conversations and in-depth research.
Janis F. Kearney is a publisher, author, and oral historian. She was one of 19 children born to Arkansas Delta Sharecroppers T.J. and Ethel Kearney. She Graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A., in Journalism, and completed 30 hours in public administration, and Journalism.
She was hired by Daisy Bates in 1987 as Managing Editor of the Arkansas State Press. In 1988, she purchased the newspaper. She served as Personal Diarist to President Clinton from 1995 to 2001. She was the country’s first personal diarist to a U.S. President, and during that time, she also served as White House liaison to the U.S. National Archives.
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