Having It All?

Black Women and Success

Publisher: Broadway Books
A behind-the-scenes look into the lives of successful middle- and upper-middle class African American women, the groundbreaking HAVING IT ALL? is sure to spark discussions from cocktail parties to boardrooms.

In a single generation, black women have made extraordinary strides academically, professionally, and financially. They’ve entered the workplace at a far greater rate than white women; increased their enrollment in law schools and graduate programs by 120 percent; and many are now running top companies, or in some cases, the country. Isn’t that enough? Not necessarily. With sharp insight, award-winning journalist Veronica Chambers explores the challenges and stereotypes she and other African American women continue to endure, and answers the question most often posed to her: What does success mean for black women?

Twenty-first century black women draw their inspiration from a wide range of sources: Claire Huxtable to Audrey Hepburn, snowboarding to basketball, Gloria Steinem to bell hooks. They choose what they like. Yet they are misunderstood by mainstream America and lack an accurate portrayal in the media of their lives. HAVING IT ALL? interweaves the thoughts and reflections of more than fifty women who occupy this territory. The voices range from Thelma Golden, chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, to a Silicon Valley executive, to medical and legal professionals, and stay-at-home “mocha moms.”

Successful black women today want it all: marriage, motherhood, engaging work, and prosperity. The difference is that they come to the table with the strength, courage and wisdom of black women ancestors who-did-it-all, even when they didn’t-have-it-all. What has gone so undocumented by the media is that modern black women are coming up with creative, satisfying answers to the juggling act that all women face.

Veronica Chambers chronicles this topic for the first time in her absorbing, riveting and groundbreaking book HAVING IT ALL?


Crystal Ashby is the textbook image of a sister on the move. At 40, she’s an antitrust lawyer for a major Chicago oil company. She enjoys the fruits of her labor—wears designer clothes, drives a late-model sports car and enjoys jet set vacations. A native of Detroit, you could say that oil is in her blood....
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"HAVING IT ALL? portrays (at last!) the joys, dreams and concerns of successful black women but it is not only for them. Women of all races will see themselves reflected in Chambers' subjects--they may also be fascinated by the differences. This book is a much-needed contribution to the conversation we all have---with our friends, sisters, mothers, daughters--about how, as a woman, to lead a truly full and satisfying life."
-Peggy Orenstein, author of Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, & Life in a Half-Changed World

"With verve and personal insight, Veronica Chambers charts one of the most important but under-covered social movements of our time--the rise of black women to their rightful place in American professional life. It's a coming-of-age story not just for these women, but for the whole country."
--Jonathan Alter, Newsweek

"A fascinating and enlightening glimpse into the lives and minds of successful black women today. The book, culturally rich and eminently readable, is one every reader–black or white, male or female, would do well to immerse herself in."
-Cathi Hanauer, Editor of Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage

"HAVING IT ALL? is the real thing.  These are women in real situations -- Veronica Chambers has written a fascinating and wonderfully researched book."
-Gail Buckley, Author of American Patriots

“Veronica Chambers is smart and brave. HAVING IT ALL? should be required reading for any woman, Black, White or myriad other, who dares to break out of the box and define herself.”
- Benilde Little, Author of Acting Out and Good Hair

"Veronica Chambers' HAVING IT ALL? is more than a collective biography of successful black women. The book is a history lesson about women who've transformed the cultural image from Aunt Jemima to uber-mogul Oprah Winfrey--and transformed America in turn. Most importantly, Chambers reveals the moments of self-transformation that happen in every black woman's life, through the stories of some of the most fascinating and accomplished people in America."
-Farai Chideya author of THE COLOR OF OUR FUTURE

From the Hardcover edition.