Journalism professor’s book used as first-year text

Davis

Baruch College

Adham Elshaabiny

Baruch College Professor Bridget Davis’ memoir “The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers” was selected for the second consecutive year as the first year text for incoming students.

First year students were required to read it before the fall semester began.

Professor Davis’s memoir became the first book written by a Baruch professor to be selected for the first-year text in fall 2020.

The memoir received major recognition, recognized by The New York Times Editors’ Choice list and BuzzFeed’s Best Books of 2019 list.

It was also featured in lists including Kirkus’ Best Memoirs of 2019, 2020 Michigan Notable Books and NBC News list of Best AfricanAmerican memoirs.

Through the story of her mother’s life, Davis tells how African-Americans were unable to pursue the American dream during the Jim Crow era of the 1960s and 1970s.

Facing all types of injustice and segregation and denied access to good jobs or steady employment, Davis’s mother Fannie refused to let her fate be defined by the situation she was in.

Davis spoke about her memoir in an interview with Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

She hopes that first-year students learn a piece of American history in the “best possible way” — through a personal story of one woman who had to figure out “a way out of no way,” due to racism.  “I hope students will learn the specific ways in which governmental policy coupled with widespread discrimination has placed unnecessary obstacles in the paths of African Americans seeking to simply pursue the American dream,” she said. “I hope they understand just what racial justice looks like. And I hope many of these students see their own families’ stories reflected in my own.”

As keynote speaker, Davis offered words of encouragement to freshmen during Baruch’s 2021 Fall Student Convocation on Aug. 24.

She advised them to step into the unknown with determination and perseverance, despite entering college during an unprecedented time.

She shared two key lessons she learned from her mother that would help students as they begin to imagine what success looks like.

“Number one, live with integrity, even in the face of hardships and challenges,” she said. “When you face obstacles and challenges, I’m sure you already have and you will again, figure out how to make a way out of no way that does not compromise your values.”

The second lesson Davis discussed was to be generous, as her mother was known for.

“Generosity comes in many forms,” she said. “It comes in the form of listening to others, offering support to someone who really needs it and reaching out a hand that pulls someone up, pulls someone else along with you as you move forward.”

Davis is not only an accomplished professor but also a novelist, essayist, filmmaker and curator

She is the director of the award-winning film “Naked Acts,” and the author of two novels, “Into the Go-Slow” and “Shifting Through Neutral.”

Plan B Entertainment, Brad Pitt’s production company, and Searchlight Pictures, the Disney owned arthouse studio, have acquired Davis’s memoir in a dual collaboration.

It will be adapted into a feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In her interview with  Weissman, Davis announced that she is working on a new draft of the screenplay for the film, which could go into production in 2022 according to Davis.