by Rae Linda Brown
A Reflection by Allison Hiblong
This historical biography is a delight. Florence is America’s first significant African American woman composer. It was so interesting to learn about this composer who was born and raised in Little Rock.
Rae Linda Brown did a great job telling the story of Florence while describing the historical and social context that provided challenges as well as opportunities in her life. I learned through this book that Little Rock was the pride of the South in post-Reconstruction and was actually called “Negro Paradise.” While times change and societal norms shift. I enjoyed learning about Little Rock in the late 1800s and what it was like in our community at that time for an African American middle-class family.
If you are a history buff, pick this book up and enjoy it. If you are not, it is still interesting to read the introduction to get a feel of what an amazing woman Florence Price was. And for any musicians out there, some of her pieces are featured in the book.
To give you a hint of who Florence was, here is the opening poem used for this book:
THE HEART OF A WOMAN
The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.
The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.
by Georgia Douglas Johnson