As Sally Ride and Marian Wright Edelman both powerfully said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” When Sally Ride said that, she meant that it was hard to dream of being an astronaut, like she was, or a doctor or an athlete or anything at all if you didn’t see someone like you who already had lived that dream. She especially was talking about seeing women in jobs that historically were held by men.
I wrote the first She Persisted
and the books that came after it because I wanted young girls—and children of all genders—to see women who worked hard to live their dreams. And I wanted all of us to see examples of persistence in the face of different challenges to help inspire us in our own lives.
I’m so thrilled now to partner with a sisterhood of writers to bring longer, more in-depth versions of these stories of women’s persistence and achievement to readers. I hope you enjoy these chapter books as much as I do and find them inspiring and empowering.
And remember: If anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn’t important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.
Warmly,Chelsea ClintonTABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Strong Roots
Chapter 2: Gifted Voice
Chapter 3: Determined to Succeed
Chapter 4: Fortified by Faith
Chapter 5: Freedom Fighter
Chapter 6: Legacy Builder
How You Can Persist
Named after her grandma Cora, Coretta Scott came into the world connected to a deep legacy of faith, bravery and belief in the importance of education. Everyone knew she was destined for something special. But no one—not even her parents or Coretta herself—could imagine that one day her voice and strength would inspire people around the world.
Born on April 27, 1927, at home in Perry County, Alabama, Coretta was the child of Obadiah (Obie) Scott and Bernice McMurryScott. They lived on family land in a house her father had built. Surrounded by the power of people who loved her, Coretta felt safe and protected. But outside the safety of their home, there were dangers everywhere.
In Alabama and throughout the South, segregation—racist laws that separated Black and white people—was the rule. Being Black meant you had to drink from “Colored” water fountains, go through back doors of businesses and restaurants and only be served after whites were. You were called hateful names and faced the danger of being hurt or killed because of the color of your skin. The weight of oppression was as thick as summer Alabama air. But the Scotts surrounded their kids with the winds of possibility.
In their proud Black community with family all around, there was a history of land ownership, hard-won and passed on. The Scotts knew land was a complicated issue full of injustice. The forced removal of the Muscogee people from their homelands and the terrible institution of slavery built wealth for some people while keeping others down. Decades later, many families who lived near Coretta’s didn’t own land and had little money. The unfairness broke Coretta’s heart.
But being with her family brought her joy. She dreamed and explored as she played with her big sister Edythe, little brother, Obie Leonard, and cousins. She climbed trees, swung on tire swings, and wrestled boys. She was imaginative and strong—and proud of it.
Copyright © 2022 by Chelsea Clinton. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.