The Time and Place That Gave Me Life now available in paperback.

A coming-of-age memoir that confronts race and gender issues in middle America during the pre-Civil Rights era.

“Janet Cheatham Bell's beautifully written memoir is both a tender meditation on her close-knit midwestern black family and a searing indictment of the mid-twentieth century racism that circumscribed their lives. Her spirit and resilience—as she grows from depression-era toddler to confident civil rights era woman—will keep you captivated and cheering. This coming of age tale has universal appeal and should be required reading for all Indiana high school students.”

A'Lelia Bundles, author of On Her Own Ground:
The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker
, and Madam Walker's great-great granddaughter



Black folks take whites much too seriously. (Except for the police. Everybody, and especially black men, has to be wary of them because you never know when a couple of them may have had a bad day.) Taking whites too seriously is just one of the things I write about in this book.

This collection of essays is about identifying and using the power we have as members of the American body politic to work together for our common good. The essays also emphasize our mutual dependency and cover a range of topics from personal and spiritual development to issues that impact our interactions with one another in the public sphere: the environment, economics, entertainment, mass transit, politics, and race relations. These essays will rock your mind and nurture your soul!


“My mom has never been shy about expressing her opinion, and that’s exactly what she does in this book. She writes about women, movies, aging, religion, extrasensory perception, politics, and of course, racism. Read it; you might be surprised at what she thinks.”

W. Kamau Bell, comedian and host of the new
CNN series, The United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell


“JANET CHEATHAM BELL IS ONE OF MY HEROES!” Henry Louis Gates Jr.