Ann Richards – Thorny Rose of Texas

'Thorny Rose of Texas: An Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards' has been declared a classic by the Texas Talking Book Program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and included in the latest edition of Spotlight on Texas.
By: ksun
Ann Richards, Texas Governor (1990-94) Dove Hunt
Ann Richards, Texas Governor (1990-94) Dove Hunt
March 17, 2011 - PRLog -- 'Thorny Rose of Texas: An Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards' has been declared a classic by the Texas Talking Book Program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and is included in the latest edition of Spotlight on Texas.

The Talking Book Program, provided in various formats--audio, Braille and large print--has been like a public library since 1978 for Texans with vision and reading disabilities, with more than 80,000 thousand titles in genres that include the classics, biography, history, romance, science fiction, mystery, western, children's, self-help, how-to, travel, magazines and others. Part of the Texas Talking Book Program's mission is Spotlight on Texas, a free biannual audio catalog announcing the latest books available to registered users of Texas Talking Book services, which include audio playback equipment so its users can listen to recorded books like 'Thorny Rose of Texas: An Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards' and many others.

'Thorny Rose of Texas: An Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards,' one of the latest Texas Talking Books produced at the Volunteer Recording Studio in Austin and the Recording Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Midland, Texas, is a biography of the sharp-tongued late Governor of Texas who stepped onto the national stage as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention on July 19, 1988, at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia. That was the year that lead to presidential campaigns of George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican, and Michael Dukakis, Democrat.

Ann Richards was as stunning that night, visually and verbally, as she had been on her shotgun carrying dove hunt. Before a roaring crowd, under lights glowing off platinum hair and porcelain complexion, she was every bit a star. One-liners about the Republican Party, and the privileged background of its presidential candidate Bush, rolled off her tongue. "Poor George," she said with a long pause for added effect. "He can't help it," she said with another long pause. "He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

A link later in this article leads to a page with more of the famous speech Ann Richards made at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

Born in 1933 into poverty during the Great Depression, Ann Richards developed a gritty personality and became a star debater while attending high school in Lakeview, Texas, near the farm where she was born. After high school, she won a scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, thirty-five miles down the road from her home. “I have always had the feeling I could do anything and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong,” Richards said.

Talking Book volunteers bring manuscripts to life through their narrations of thousands of books, such as 'Thorny Rose of Texas: An Intimate Portrait of Governor Ann Richards,' (Carol Publishing Corporation) by Mike Shropshire and Frank Schaeffer, 'Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s' (Texas A&M University Press) by Sunny Nash, 'Ernest Tubb: The Texas Troubadour' (Duke University Press) by Ronnie Pugh, and 'Pride: The Charley Pride Story' (William Morrow) by Charley Pride. Linda Fox, narrator of the Richards and Nash books, and other narrators record fiction and nonfiction books by Texas authors and authors from other states who research and write about Texas history, culture and people.

In addition to inclusion in the Talk Book Program, Ann Richards' contributions to women's history in America and the history of Texas are also documented in 'Texas Through Women’s Eyes: The Twentieth Century Experience' (University of Texas Press) by award-wining historians, Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith, both professors at the University of Houston, Victoria. Combining data from their original research and previously published histories, McArthur and Smith pay close attention to relationships between men and women; explore the hierarchies of race and ethnicity; and include first-person accounts from women's letters, memoirs and oral histories. For their book, McArthur and Smith won the 'Texas State Historical Association’s Carpenter Award for Research in the History of Women.'

Also featured in 'Texas Through Women’s Eyes: The Twentieth Century Experience' by Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith is Sunny Nash, author of the memoir, 'Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's,' about life with her grandmother before and during the Civil Rights Movement that ended segregation in the Jim Crow South. Nash's book won recognition from the Association of American University Presses for its value to the understanding of race relations in the United States.

Ann Richards was also influenced by the Jim Crow period in American history, victimized in her sympathetic observation of the treatment of African Americans at the time and vowing that one day she would do something to improve race relations in her nation. Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56, Woolworth's sit-ins in 1960, Freedom Riders in 1961, and the March on Washington in1963 were significant developments in U.S. race relations that affected Richards’ views on how American life should be changed. She was 22 when Rosa Parks led the Montgomery Bus Boycott; 27 when the Greensboro Four led the Woolworth’s sit-ins; 28 when Freedom Riders traveled across the Jim Crow South on integrated buses; and 29 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his 'I Have a Dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. To view videos and photographs of Rosa Parks and other activists of the civil rights era, go to:

Ann Richards and Sunny Nash first became acquainted through Texas politics in the 1980s, Richards as a political candidate, and Nash in political campaign and candidate promotions. When Richards was elected Texas State Treasurer in 1982, she was the first woman elected to statewide office in Texas since 1924. Richards was re-elected unopposed asTexas State Treasurer in 1986, and then was elected Governor of Texas in 1990, becoming the second female Governor of Texas; the first was Miriam Ferguson, elected in 1924, also in 'Texas Through Women’s Eyes: The Twentieth Century Experience.' Ann Richards was defeated in the 1994 governor's race by George W. Bush, son of the subject of her 1988 Democratic National Convention keynote speech, George H.W. Bush. Richards died in 2006. For more about Ann Richards, see photos and view video at:

Texas Talking Book volunteers record ten or more new books per month and offer free recorded subscriptions to three Texas magazines--Texas Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways and more than 80 other magazines, including Reader's Digest, Newsweek, Guideposts, Sports Illustrated, Money, People, Martha Stewart Living, Seventeen, Cricket and Ebony, to name a few. Further, some magazines are translated into Spanish and other foreign languages, but none contain commercial advertisements.

The Texas Talking Book Program, part of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is supported by the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Washington, DC. Working with individuals, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions through the National Library Service, the Texas Talking Book Program provides postage-free, free-of-charge library services and audio books like 'Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s' and 'Thorny Rose of Texas' to more than 20,000 eligible borrowers per year who have permanent or temporary visual, physical and learning impairments or disabilities that prevent them from reading standard printed books and magazines. The National Library Service motto is: “So that all may read.”

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Sunny Nash, author of Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, is an award-winning journalist, photographer, producer and public speaker with work in the African American National Biography by Harvard and Oxford; African American West, Century of Short Stories; Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 - Present; Ancestry; Companion to Southern Literature; Texas Through Women’s Eyes; Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy; African American Foodways; Southwestern American Literature Journal and other anthologies. Nash is listed in references: The Source: guidebook to American genealogy; Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies; Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics; Ebony Magazine; Hidden Sources: Family History in Unlikely Places; and others.

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