An account of the achievements of four African-American brothers; of interest primarily to Pitts family members.

Roberta's Boys


Carson’s book documents the ascent of four young African-American brothers during the early 20th century. 

The four sons of Roberta “Sis” Pitts—Willis, Robert, Raymond, and Nathan—all became accomplished professionals when such a thing was rare for even one member of a black family in the Jim Crow South. Pitts’ sons credited their mother with instilling in them the determination and will to succeed no matter the obstacle. The book traces the lives of each of these men and shows how three earned Ph.D.s as educators and one became a federal government employee. Written in a straightforward, chronological style, Carson portrays each son’s life by what he did year to year from childhood to death. The author provides extensive quotes from all; here Raymond discusses moving into a soon-to-be racially mixed neighborhood: “I think we ought to get to know and love our neighbors.” The book is at its best when it details the racist incidents that show the endemic bigotry of the time, such as when Willis was forced out of the carpentry business because he accepted clients from white carpenters or the way the Pitts family became “blockbusters” (blacks who became the first African-Americans to live on a whites-only block) in Pasadena, California. There is one egregious historical error: “In 1917, just weeks after he became the first Southerner elected President since the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson….” (Wilson was first elected president in 1912). The book provides thorough, frank details about one black family’s experiences during the beginning of the 20th century; however, unless someone is keenly interested in the story of the Pitts brothers, there is little here for the casual reader.

An account of the achievements of four African-American brothers; of interest primarily to Pitts family members.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9962883-0-9

Page Count: 282

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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