…Donald Thornton told his six daughters. “But I’m not always gonna be around to look after you, and no man’s gonna come along and offer to take care of you because you ain’t light-skinned. That’s why you gotta be able to look after yourselves. And for that you gotta be smart.” The Ditchdigger’s Daughters is an inspiring portrait by a loving daughter of a father whose pervasive common sense, folk wisdom, and untutored but right-on insights gave his children their road map to a better life. It is the story of a man who dared to dream that his black daughters would someday become doctors—and who guided them to achieve the seemingly impossible goals he set for them. From the tenements of East Harlem to the footlights of the Apollo Theatre to the halls of an Ivy League medical school, Dr. Yvonne Thornton has written a family biography that is as moving as it is inspiring. Here is the story of a poor black father and his unimaginable dream of seeing all six of his daughters become doctors; of the wisdom and guidance that gave his girls the strength to keep striving; and of the remarkable way that each one of them transcended race, color, and gender to fulfill the promise of the American Dream. “Dr. Thornton’s story shows that a family that stays together, that holds fast to traditional values, can make a quantum leap up the social mobility scale in one generation.” —Wall Street Journal
“Entertaining yet inspiring…a welcome antidote to the many recent books that have shown the underside of growing up black.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., obtained her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with honors. She is director of the Perinatal Diagnostic Testing Center at Morristown, New Jersey, and an associate physician at Rockefeller University Hospital. She lives with her husband and two children in Teaneck, New Jersey.