Like the Old Testament heroine who inspired her name, Ruth Yuell faced a life of disadvantages. As a Negro born in St. Louis, 1939, Ruth entered a world dominated by segregation and racism. As a young woman who fought for her people through nonviolence, Ruth encountered brutality from powerful whites and ridicule from militant blacks. She also weathered terrible storms of scandal and betrayal. Like her biblical namesake, Ruth overcame her hardships through hard work, determination, piety, and courage.
“Paths of Promise” (Phoenix Publishing Group) tells the story of Ruth Yuell—a woman of conviction and honor who made remarkable sacrifices for her family, her community, and her faith looking toward a brighter future for all Americans. Within a novel covering a turbulent span of history, from Jim Crow through the Civil Rights movement, author Donna J. Grisanti traces one black woman’s struggle for equality and justice, for validation and respect, and for love.
In flashbacks, the book recounts Ruth’s story from its start, with her birth at home on Archer Street. Despite his status as a newly minted Doctor of Medicine, her father could not afford to send his wife to the hospital as he had when the three year old twins were born. With the help of Mother Jones, the midwife, Ruth safely arrived to join her family in a tight-knit black community centered on the church. She was raised to respect authority, mind her manners, control her tongue, and strive to be a model of industry, dignity, and accomplishment. Even as a tiny girl, Ruth was aware of the responsibility of representing her race, as well as the risks that came with getting on the wrong side of the law or a white citizen.
Anchored in landmark events such as Brown v. Board of Education, the Little Rock desegregation and the long, dangerous roads fighting for equal rights, “Paths of Promise” tells the story of a fictional woman with a firm, proud place in history. Through her courage and unshakable character, Ruth Yuell proves her father’s belief: “One person could make change happen.”