top of page

Tina McElroy Ansa

Part 1: The Genesis of a Southern Black Writer

Part 3: Black Women Telling Our Stories 

Part 2: A Generation of Activism

Part 4: "Mine the Gold That Is All Within Us"

“Would you look at the one come to this earth with a veil over her face? Gon’ be a wise child, ” Miss Sallie Mae pronounced, then headed right back downstairs, sniffing all the way as if she smelled something burning. 

    The cook’s place was immediately filled by two young nurse’s aides. “Oh, look, isn’t she pretty? I’ve never seen one come with a veil over its face before. You can’t even tell where it was,” one woman said. 

    “She already got a head full of hair,” the other replied. “Lord, I shore hope she ain’t tender-headed, ‘cause I bet it’s gonna be a chore and a half to comb it.”

" I wish she'd open her eyes. You know it's supposed to be good luck for a child like that to look at you. That's what I always heard. She supposed to be a lucky child herself." 

      "My grandma always said a child like that was kin to being a witch." 

      "A witch?" 

      "Yeah, but not a evil witch, just a person with special powers. I had a cousin who was born with a caul over her whole body that folks used to come from all over south Georgia to see 'cause she could read 'em. Tell ‘em they future." 

      "That's right, they do supposed to have special powers. They supposed to be able to tell you things. But the biggest power is they able to see ghosts."


(Excerpted from Baby of the Family by Tina McElroy Ansa; New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, 1989. Copyright ©1989 by Tina McElroy Ansa. Used with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.)

Tina McElroy Ansa is a Southern storyteller and a graduate of Spelman College who has returned to the school over the years as a writer-in-residence, teacher, and workshop leader. In 2007, she founded her own publishing company, DownSouth Press, to promote African American writers. In addition to publishing five award-winning novels, she is a regular writer for CBS television’s Sunday Morning program and for newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.

Tellisa Diamond Massey is a sophomore studying Documentary Filmmaking at Spelman College.

bottom of page