AuthorTHINGS WE CANNOT CONTROL!!



Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She is a community activist having been a school board trustee in the Oak Park School District and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures Program. Shirley loves trains, vintage clothes, and old buildings with historic significance. So it was a natural that she would write about growing up in historic Royal Oak Twp. and keep alive a catholic community that was about to lose its history and identity. It seems that everything she loved closed down and she was not about to let any of it be forgotten. Shirley joined Rave Reviews Book Club because she recognized the need to support fellow authors in order to move forward in her own endeavors. She already had a thriving relationship with like twitter followers that lead her here. “We all had the same goals so it was a natural fit.”


The continuing saga of this story is played out in an excerpt presented here…


Book Excerpt

With the help of our godmother, Martha Palms-Williams, my severely

retarded brother, Rudolph James, was baptized a year before the rest of the

family and placed in an institution in Lapeer, Michigan. When they took him

away, he turned around and reached out his hands for Mother. It was so

amazing that he knew that he was leaving her. He knew who she was in spite

of his handicap. It was also a sad thing to see, and I cried so hard for him and

my mother that day. Yet I was relieved. It had been very stressful on the family.

Because he was so handicapped, we could not lead a normal family life.

We never saw him again. I do not recall him getting baptized before the rest

of the family, but there it was in the records. I can certainly see the urgency of

it, looking back. We got help for him only after coming to Our Lady of Victory

and meeting those wonderful, Christian people.


Years later, Mother received a letter from the State of Michigan informing

her that Rudy had been dropped during the birthing process, and that was the

cause of his retardation. Apparently, there had been an investigation. Mother

could have filed a lawsuit, but her faith in God would not allow it. The faith

came from her association with Our Lady of Victory. This church profoundly

influenced her, and it helped her through this stressful period in our lives. As I

sit here at my computer writing about this incident, I am emotionally distraught. It still hurts after all these years, and I still feel the guilt of leaving him in that institution, even though I had nothing to do with any of it…Slaughter CoverImage


This excerpt is something that played out in my mind for many years. It was something I planned never to talk about. But when my editor told me that I needed to tell my story, since I’m the author, this became part of it along with other incidences that were buried deep within; things that I was too ashamed to discuss let alone put in a book. Like the time my brother and I were put back a grade just to get into a Catholic School for the first time in our lives. Talk about humiliation; I would not speak of this for many years because I was too ashamed. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about it. Our parents were willing to sacrifice a lot to give us a good education, even sacrificing us if that’s what it took to get it. They weren’t trying to hurt us – they were just that desperate to do whatever it took to give us a good start in life.


Question: Did you ever feel desperate enough to do whatever it took to reach your goal – trying to control something you had no control over?

Book title: Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. RRBC Seal of Excellence

Genre: Biography; Narrative History

Createspace Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter Facebook: Email:


27 thoughts on “Author Spotlight: SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER”

  1. Thank you Rebecca for hosting Shirley on her “Spotlight” Author Blog Tour. Shirley, I think we have all been at that place at one point or another in our life. It took courage for you to share this with all of us, your fans and followers.


    1. Yes Nicholas it can be a shocker if you never experienced anything close to it. I didn’t know what it was at the time of the incident. I was too young to understand it. You never forget things that stand out in your life. Obviously I was affected by it or I never would have carried it around in my head all these years to wind up writing about it. Life is weird like that sometimes.


      1. I remember a fight I had with my parents once. They had been very surprised when I had brought it up, years later, while at dinner with a psychologist friend; they had all but forgotten it. Our friend had pointed out that it had created a trauma for me, hence my vivid memory of the event, whereas it had not for my parents.


  2. Congratulations Shirley as the spotlight author of this week. I have not read your book yet, but from the excerpt, it sounds very interesting. I have put it down on the list of my “to read books.” Again, congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so excited to see you in the Spotlight, Shirley!! You are truly deserving of it, especially with a wonderful & insightful post! Thank you, Rebecca, for showing your support and hosting Shirley!!


  4. Rebecca, thank you so much for hosting Shirley. Shirley, this certainly was a heart-felt post. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share this with all of us. Also, the question you posed is quite thought-provoking! My (short) answer is yes. Congrats on your time in the SPOTLIGHT. Enjoy it my dear, you’ve earned it! xoxo 🙂


    1. Danica I’m so delighted to see you here. I especially appreciate your support and our time together at RRBC. Thank you so much.


  5. Very best of luck Shirley on your spotlight tour! It’s also been great to stop by Rebecca’s place too 🙂


  6. I’ve read this book already! I highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good read. History buffs will also find the book quite interesting. Congratulations to Shirley for getting some time in the Spotlight. This honor is well deserved. Thanks for hosting, Rebecca!


    1. Thank you Beem for always being there for me. You are a good friend and supporter of my work. I will always cherish our friendship. Thank you.


  7. My what a beautiful website! Rebecca thank you for hosting me and everybody here I appreciate you so much for stopping by. I’m so excited!.


    1. Thank you Nonnie for those awesome words of encouragement. And I want to thank Rebecca for hosting me. What a beautiful site.


    1. Hi, Dale! Playing devil’s advocate here…but I’d bet my last dollar that Shirley would beg to differ that it “doesn’t happen anymore.” Thanks for stopping by. It’s great to dialogue!


    2. Yes Dale, thank goodness because there would be a lot of people being affected by this just like me. I never knew how much until I put it down on paper.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, Shirley & Rebecca. Thanks for sharing such a personal and insightful post about the hard things authors goes through to share their stories. It is important to be authentic. I too grew up in the days when children who were handicapped in some way were sent off to institutions. It happened to family friends of ours. It is heart-breaking to think of now, and how much more so it must have been for the family then. Blessings, Bette

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just goes to show you how life can deal a good or bad hand. Its how you handle it that counts.My entire family was affected by this. Thanks for your kind words Bette.

      Liked by 1 person

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