March 9, 2021
On January 28, 2021, Cicely Tyson passed away at the age of 96, barely two days after the publication of her autobiography, Just as I Am. She left the world with an incredible legacy. Her career in stage and screen spanned over six decades, and in her final curtain call, she left the gift of her story.
It may seem strange that Tyson has only now chronicled her incredible life, but until recently, she couldn’t see the point of telling her story. However, her manager convinced her that the Cicely Tyson the world thought they knew was just the trimming on the tree and that she should share the roots. And that’s exactly what she’s done. Seeking to tell her story, not as a highlight reel of her career, but a reflection of her family and history, Tyson lays bare her past.
Of her book, Tyson said, “Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In the pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word...”
With a foreword by actress Viola Davis titled “A Mighty Seed,” Tyson’s life is voiced in three parts—“Planted,” “Rooted,” and “Bountiful.” She shares her story with honesty and humility, and readers will witness her strength, feel her commitment to activism through art, and shadow her steps through profound moments in history. This memoir is an eye-opening read about an American icon.
Lisa P., Information and Readers’ Services Department
Evin H., Reading Rocket Team
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