New Book: Barbara Blake Hannah’s “Growing Out”

Journalist Barbara Blake Hannah has just published Growing Out (Hansib Publications, 2010). The paperback will be launched in Jamaica on October 30, 2010, by Novelty Trading Company at its Bookland, New Kingston store. It will be presented by guest speaker Beverly Anderson Manley. Blake Hannah is also author of The First School: A Home Schooling Guide to Early Childhood Education.

The Jamaica Gleaner describes the history behind this new book:

In 1968, seeking a change from her job with a London public-relations company as executive for the Jamaica Tourist Board account, 24-year-old Jamaican journalist Barbara Blake applied for a job as a journalist with the new Thames TV daily magazine programme Today. She was invited to audition as an on-screen presenter and, within days, was invited to be one of three daily reporter/interviewers on the show, hosted by TV personality Eamonn Andrews. It was the first time a black person had appeared on British TV in a news capacity, other than as entertainers, and the news made national front pages. However, racists sent hate messages to the station daily, which bowed under the pressure after nine months.

In Growing Out, Barbara, now Blake Hannah, writes about her early years growing up in Jamaica and how, from childhood, black women’s hair influences their self-esteem negatively. She carries this self-hate to a decade in England called the ‘Swinging ’60s’, where the racism she encountered was counterbalanced by an education in black consciousness generated by the cultural, political and racial events of the time. Growing Out describes how the psychological and actual experience leads her to grow out her natural hair. [. . .] Woven within Growing Out is the sub-story of ‘Mr Jones’, a narrative that illustrates the typical lives of Jamaican immigrants in the 1960s.

Blake Hannah is a strong advocate for black self-awareness and credits her years in England as a profitable experience, which opened her mind to the full knowledge of her racial history and pride in her natural self.

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