Study Guide

Having Our Say Race

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

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As the daughters of a former slave turned bishop, Sadie and Bessie know a thing or two about the way race works in America. They lived through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, along with their own experiences with racism along the way. In Having Our Say, Sadie and Bessie finally get to have their say about these experiences—something they thought society would never be interested in hearing. Although their story isn't a conventional one, it teaches us a lot about the absurdities of racism and the subtle ways it affects everyone's lives.

Questions About Race

  1. How does the sisters' family history affect their view on race?
  2. How does racism (and views of race in general) differ between the North and South?
  3. What role does skin tone play in the perception of racial identity?
  4. How do the sisters' experiences with racism affect their drive to succeed?

Chew on This

Having Our Say argues that race is a social construct: some combination of class, culture, and ethnicity made to seem larger than it really is.

Having Our Say argues that racial solidarity is an effective way to build up an entire community at the same time.

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