Like the Old Testament heroine who inspired her name, Ruth Yuell faced a life of disadvantages. As a Negro born in St. Louis in 1939, Yuell entered a world dominated by segregation and racism. As a young woman who fought for her people through non-violence, she encountered brutality from powerful whites and ridicule from militant Blacks. She also weathered terrible storms of scandal and betrayal. Like her biblical namesake, Yuell overcame her hardships through hard work, determination, piety and courage.
“Paths of Promise” (Phoenix Publishing) tells the story of Ruth Yuell — a woman of honor and conviction who made remarkable sacrifices for her family, her community and her faith by looking forward toward a brighter future for all Americans. Within a novel covering the turbulent span of history from Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Movement, author Donna J. Grisanti traces one Black woman’s struggle for equality and justice, for validation and respect and for love.
Yuell’s story opens and concludes in Chicago, 1967 — in an emergency room. During a peaceful demonstration for fair housing right, Yuell gets swept up and injured in a crowd's reaction to overzealous police officers. While waiting for medical attention, she seizes on a visit from a successful white journalist — who happens to be one of her closet friends from college — as an opportunity to share her life story. “I want to tell everybody what you can go through and get through, and still stay true to yourself and what you believe,” Yuell declares to her old friend Norma.
Yuell’s dream of having it all — a fulfilling career as a nurse, the perfect marriage and the respect of her community and the white establishment — seemed within reach. Until Christmas break of 1958, when a horrific crime ripped her world apart and abruptly turned her from victim into a villainous capable of murder. Through flashbacks, “Paths of Promise” tells the story of a fictional woman with a firm, proud place in history. Thorough her courage and unshakable character, Ruth Yuell proves her father’s belief: “One person can make change happen.”