Make your own history Timeless truths from Black American trailblazers

Joseph H. Holland

Book - 2023

One hundred and twenty Black leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs share their wisdom and experience across the centuries in Make Your Own History, an inspiring collection of exemplary Black voices--past and present, familiar and unsung--which have the power to guide us today.

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Self-help publications
New York, NY : Dafina, Kensington Publishing Corp 2023.
Main Author
Joseph H. Holland (author)
First Kensington hardcover edition
Physical Description
xi, 420 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 379-404) and index.
  • Trailblazers of courage
  • Trailblazers of self-discipline
  • Trailblazers of compassion
  • Trailblazersof perserverance
  • Trailblazers of teamwork
  • Trailblazers of integrity
  • Trailblazers of industriousness
  • Trailblazers of self-reliance
  • Trailblazers of optimism
  • Trailblazers of purposefulness
  • Trailblazers ov civility
  • Trailblazers of faith.
Review by Booklist Review

Holland knows firsthand the value of living his 12 vigorous virtues (courage, self-discipline, compassion, perseverance, teamwork, integrity, industriousness, self-reliance, optimism, purposefulness, civility, and faith) from his years working as a lawyer, motivational speaker, community-based entrepreneur, and minister. Here he attributes one virtue each to dozens of Black history-makers, from William Still, "father of the Underground Railroad," to investigative journalist and suffragist Ida B. Wells to actor Chadwick Boseman. Entries under each virtue are arranged chronologically, beginning with enslaved people up to contemporary characters. Each entry gives a one-to-two-page biography focused on the subject's achievements, then is followed by ways the reader can emulate the subject, such as "tackle your fears," "make necessary sacrifices," "defend your rights," and "forever have faith," bolstered by quotes from the subject and elsewhere. Covering abolitionists, entrepreneurs, musicians, reporters, athletes, soldiers, and more, this compendium has something to inspire every reader. When read as a whole, the advice can seem repetitive, but readers who dip in and out for pieces of inspiration will find this heartening, stirring work of great value.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Affirmative quotes and stories from an assortment of Black trailblazers emphasize aspects of overcoming adversity and making positive steps in one's own life. Holland, an attorney, ordained minister, and entrepreneur, presents a roster of pioneers from colonial times to the present to help readers model behavior and extract lessons. His latest book, he writes, "is not only a resource for those in dire straits; it is also for those confronted by everyday challenges. Tools that fix broken-down vehicles work just as well on cars that only need a tune-up." In 12 sections reflecting "12 vigorous virtues" (Courage, Self-Discipline, Compassion, Persever-ance, Teamwork, Integrity, etc.), Holland picks a lively mix of subjects from across the historical spectrum. Thomas Morris Chester, the first Black war correspondent during the Civil War, and gymnast Simone Biles are among the "Trailblazers of Courage"). Tennis champion Althea Gibson and NBA legend Kobe Bryant exemplify self-discipline. As demonstrations of the virtue of civility, Holland includes Crispus Attucks, the first man to die during the Boston Massacre of 1770; the founders of the Niagara Movement; and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The first licensed female preacher in the history of the AME Church, Jarena Lee, and the preacher who spurred the Pentecostal Movement, Lucy Farrow, are avatars of faith. Other sections profile "Trailblazers of Compassion" (Ella Baker, Diana Ross, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z among them), "Trailblazers of Perseverance" (including Charlotte Forten Grimké, Serena Williams), "Teamwork" (Harlem Hellfighters, the Obamas) "Industriousness" (Madam C.J. Walker), and "Self-Reliance" (Shirley Chisholm). After a brief summary explaining why he included each subject, Holland lists the life lessons and action items readers should take from their stories under punchy headlines that can serve as slogans for advocacy--e.g., "Tackle Your Fears," "Take Down Barriers," "Trigger the Future," "Move With Unity." Solid nuggets of wisdom and purpose. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.