I love to read but there are very few books that I have read more than once. Usually, once I read a story I have no desire to go back and re-read it. That is not the case, however, with the true story The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, a book that highlights the importance of fathers and hard work. I first read this book many years ago and fell in love with it! A couple of years ago, I re-read this inspiring story for a second time. Recently it came to mind again, because of all the talk around Black lives in America. I thought given the times we are in, that many of you may be interested in picking up a copy of this book for yourselves and giving it a read too.
The Ditchdigger’s Daughters is a true story of a Black father (In the 1950s) who worked as a laborer, his wife who worked cleaning homes and their six daughters. The father, Donald Thornton, had a dream for his six daughters. He wanted them all to grow up to be doctors. Donald and his wife set out to make this dream happen. Throughout the girls’ childhoods, their father was strict but loving. He taught them to work hard, never give up, and to dream big dreams! Along the way, this family forms a professional band, builds a home, and achieves many other great accomplishments. If you are looking for a book about beating the odds, determination and the importance of fathers, this is the book for you!
The Ditchdigger’s Daughters was written by one of Donald’s six girls, Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, who does indeed grow up to be a doctor. Here is the description of the book as found on Amazon:
“…Donald Thornton told his six daughters. “But I’m not always gonna be around to look after you, and no man’s gonna come along and offer to take care of you because you ain’t light-skinned. That’s why you gotta be able to look after yourselves. And for that you gotta be smart.”The Ditchdigger’s Daughters is an inspiring portrait by a loving daughter of a father whose pervasive common sense, folk wisdom, and untutored but right-on insights gave his children their road map to a better life. It is the story of a man who dared to dream that his black daughters would someday become doctors—and who guided them to achieve the seemingly impossible goals he set for them.
From the tenements of East Harlem to the footlights of the Apollo Theatre to the halls of an Ivy League medical school, Dr. Yvonne Thornton has written a family biography that is as moving as it is inspiring. Here is the story of a poor black father and his unimaginable dream of seeing all six of his daughters become doctors; of the wisdom and guidance that gave his girls the strength to keep striving; and of the remarkable way that each one of them transcended race, color, and gender to fulfill the promise of the American Dream.”
If you think you might like to read this book, you can click on the link below.
Finally, I have been having a number of discussions lately about what could truly help Black America, and one area of concern I continue to hear over and over again is the lack of fathers in Black homes and the welfare system, and how both of these affect their community. I think there is really something to this and the discussion deserves more attention. Donald Thornton, had such a huge impact on his daughters as do most fathers in the home. I wonder how all of us, could help to make a positive change in this regard? Here is a short 2-minute video about the topic. You can click on the link below.
I hope the video gets you thinking, as it did me. I also hope you pick up a copy of this incredible book. I promise you, it will be worth your time!
Thank you for this suggestion Kerry! You explained it beautifully and compelled me to order it right away from our library. I appreciate your insights. I know they are coming from a genuine place of wanting to learn and understand more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in order to help us all grow wiser and kinder.
You are welcome Laura and thank you for your kind words! I know you are going to love this book. It is right up your alley!
Thank you for continuing to encourage your readers to think critically about social issues, Kerry! A powerful video, though I would challenge the words of the last speaker regarding the government making “father’s matter” a first priority. While this point certainly merits attention, I believe we must search deeper for authentic transformation to occur in all of us. I believe challenges with fathers (and other social issues) in all cultures can be addressed by keeping (treasuring!) a Biblical worldview in our hearts. (I speak to myself as well as I write this.) If we believe Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and Matthew 22:39 and Philippians 2:3: “Love your neighbor as yourself”; “In humility think of others as better than yourselves”, then out of reverence for God (Prov. 9:10), we will want to obey what God has commanded us to do and to be (Phil. 2:3/Matt. 22:39) as spouses, parents, friends, citizens, and community members. God has to change the heart with the power of His Word (Ezekiel 36:26, Psalm 5;10). Man cannot do it alone. Futile attempt. Let us be prayerful that God will change all of our hearts into His genius, glorious likeness!!! 🙂
Amen Renee! What you say is so very true. I have been praying for the people of our country to find the Lord. Without God, it is indeed futile. Thank you for your reminder of this!