Up Home: One Girl's Journey by Simmons, Ruth J.

Up Home: One Girl's Journey

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "Simmons's evocative account of her remarkable trajectory from Jim Crow Texas, where she was the youngest of twelve children in a sharecropping family, to the presidencies of Smith College and Brown University shines with tenderness and dignity."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"A riveting work of literature, destined to take its place in the canon of great African American autobiographies."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University


I was born at a crossroads: a crossroads in history, a crossroads in culture, and a geographical crossroad in North Houston County in East Texas.

Born in 1945, Ruth J. Simmons grew up the twelfth child of sharecroppers. Her first home had no running water, no electricity, no books to read. Yet despite this--or, in her words, because of it--Simmons would become the first Black president of an Ivy League university. The former president of Smith College, Brown University, and Prairie View A&M, Texas's oldest HBCU, Simmons has inspired generations of students as she herself made history.

In Up Home, Simmons takes us back to Grapeland to show how the people who love us when we are young shape who we become. We meet her caring, tireless mother who managed to feed her large family with an often empty pantry; her father, who refused to let racial and economic injustice crush his youngest daughter's dreams; the doting brothers and sisters; and the attentive teachers who welcomed Ruth into the classroom, guiding her to a future she could hardly imagine as a child.

From the farmland of East Texas to Houston's Fifth Ward to New Orleans at the dawn of the civil rights movement, Simmons depicts an era long gone but whose legacies of inequality we still live with today. Written in clear and timeless prose, Up Home is both an origin story set in the segregated South and the uplifting chronicle of a girl whose intellect, grace, and curiosity guide her as she creates a place for herself in the world.

Author: Ruth J. Simmons
Publisher: Random House
Published: 09/05/2023
Pages: 224
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.79lbs
Size: 8.35h x 5.75w x 1.10d
ISBN: 9780593446003

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 04/01/2023 pg. 20
Kirkus Reviews 07/01/2023
Publishers Weekly 07/10/2023
Booklist 08/01/2023 pg. 9
BookPage 09/01/2023
Shelf Awareness 09/08/2023

About the Author
Ruth J. Simmons is the president of Prairie View A&M University, Texas's oldest HBCU, as well as the former president of Brown University and Smith College and former vice provost of Princeton. She earned her bachelor's degree from Dillard University and her master's and doctorate from Harvard in Romance languages and literatures. The president of France named her chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and President Biden named her to the White House HBCU Advisory Board.