What strikes the reader most about Nobody Gave Me Permission: Memoirs of a Harlem Activist, is the historical connections its subject represents.

Told in the words of Ora Mobely-Sweeting and written by her son Ezekiel Mobley, this 76-page book is packed with the history of one woman’s fight to improve the lives of Black folk.

From segregation in the South and its dangers for an activist, to higher education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, people reading these pages get a bird’s eye view of just what it took to begin changing America into a better place for African Americans and other “people of color.”

This is also a from-the-trenches-story told primarily about one of the fabled Black metropolises–Harlem. It shows how in the process of doing what needed to be done, the lives of many local grassroots activists are intertwined and sometimes mirror the lives of more well-known icons such as Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.

The book also gives insight into how so many of the civil rights that African Americans and others take for granted today were won under the threat of death. Finally, it also demonstrates that early in our history, there was a greater sense of obligation among African Americans of all economic strata to contribute to “the cause” in whatever ways they could.

Nobody Gave Me Permission is a book that every family should write–a history of how they contributed to the advancement of colored people.