Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Rave Reviews Spotlight Author - Shirley Slaughter

Today I am extremely excited to be hosting Rave Reviews Spotlight Author Shirley Slaughter.
Not only is she the Rave Reviews News Letter Co-Ordinator, she is also the author of 'Our Lady of Victory : The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community'.





Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She was baptized into the Catholic faith with her family as a child and attended Our Lady of Victory School.  Shirley lived the history growing up in this West Eight Mile Community and is uniquely qualified to write about it. She watched helplessly as her parish lost its history and identity. Her love of history has propelled her to write about Our Lady of Victory, and correct its omission from the pages of history.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from ClearyUniversity in Howell, Michigan. She is married to Langston and lives in Oak Park.

Shirley is now a proud member of the Rave Reviews Book Club!




I use the word ‘ethnic injustice’ to describe how unfair it was for me to be put back a grade when I entered catholic school for the first time in my life. It was the most humiliating experience I ever had. I never talked about it until I sat down to write this book. Then all those memories came flooding back and the computer just started typing on its own. All my thoughts about that time were released. I no longer felt any shame -only regret. Our parents did the best they knew how trying to give us a good education and they did whatever it took to make it happen. They didn’t realize the fallout that touched their most cherished possession – the children.


Book Excerpt

I remember reading before I started kindergarten, around three or four

years of age. I did not know that there was something extraordinary in being

able to do that, yet I was put back a grade in order to attend Madonna & St. Paul Catholic School.

My brother was even smarter. It was wrong to be judged by the color of your

skin and the school you came from just because it did not meet the establishment’s so-called standards. That was an insult to the educated teachers who taught us.

With so many priest assigned to our church, there should be no surprise

that I found questionable reasons for low attendance at OLVSchool in the

archives. I fully recovered from the shock of seeing in writing that OLV students

had low IQs. Can you imagine what must have been said when all of us

landed at Madonna? I am sure the establishment must have been quite distressed to see so many black youngsters descending on their school all at once. Putting us back a grade may have been a way to keep the numbers down.


I guess our parents were so desperate for us to get a good education that

they were willing to sacrifice us to get it. They never asked us how we felt

about it. I was so ashamed and humiliated by the experience that I wouldn’t

talk about it for years. As I started writing this book, I knew I had to come to

terms with my feelings, because I get butterflies in my stomach to this day just

thinking about what we went through. I discovered, however, that we were

not the only ones to experience this humiliation.


Third- and fourth-grades were added to OLV the following year, and I

began attending there. Madonna stopped taking the children of OLV, and

Ronald went to Our Lady of Sorrows in Detroit. The chartered bus was eliminated.

Anyway, I was not privy to enough inside information to question why

these things happened. Looking back, it all seems rather sad that my brother

and other students had to go to a Catholic school so far from home at such a

young age. I never really thought much about how he got there every day.

Going to Madonna afforded us a chance to ride a chartered bus. After that

changed, families were on their own getting their children to a Catholic school

in the city of Detroit.

This experience turned me into a fighter. It resulted in the writing of this book and made me a much better person, although, I could have gone in a different direction.


Question:  What sort of injustices have you experienced in your life that had a positive or negative effect on you?


Genre: Biography; Narrative History



Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter


  1. Congratulations, Shirley. I'm glad you chose to write your story. :)

  2. Thanks for hosting, Jo! I am currently reading Shirley's book. Very interesting story.

  3. Great job, Shirley! I simply LOVED the book! If you haven't gotten a copy, you should! And you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it!

    1. And Nonnie, you my friend, are the one who started it all. What can I say? Except we are put in places where we purposely meet people who are going to help propel us in life. You are one of them. Thank you my friend.

  4. I was reluctant to share all of these experiences after getting such a harsh review of the manuscript by a catholic priest/author. I was shaken up a bit when he pushed me out of his office. That is when I started to hesitate and question even going forward with the story. But words of encouragement came alone that helped me to proceed. Thank you Dale and Bruce for stopping by and thank you Jo Jenner for hosting me today. I appreciate you all and RRBC so much for allowing me to share my story. God bless you all.

  5. Hi Shirley & Jo, I have had several accidents over the years and dealt with many people; some caring and some not so caring! I think these incidents in life make us stronger and give us a gift that we pass on, to our children, grandchildren and people around us. Take care both;-)

  6. Congratulations, Shirley! A well-deserved honor! Thank you, Jo, for hosting this amazing author!

  7. Thank you Shirley for a great post, thank you Rave Reviews for allowing me to host and thank you everyone else for stopping by.

  8. It is always interesting to revisit childhood traumas, reevaluating our entire life in the process. For me, it's the final line - I could have gone in a different direction - that was particularly moving, as it shows a painful awareness of those whose life did go a different way...

  9. Congratulations, Shirley. Thanks, Jo, for hosting another wonderful RAVE REVIEWS SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR!


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