Advance Praise

“A powerful story by a powerful woman, told with language and imagery that pierce the reader and demand attention. An interesting parable about the intersection of personal change and the educational process – how they sometimes reinforce each other and sometimes produce disconnects. This is an amazing story that will hopefully educate teachers and students.”

—Ronald M. Berkman, Ph.D., President, Cleveland State University

“At a time when so many feel hopelessly ensnared in the toxic grip of poverty, drugs and prejudice, Dr. E offers an authentic blueprint for emancipation and a prescription for empowerment. Hers is a stout ‘I shall overcome’ story that reawakens lost faith.”

—Peter Lawson Jones, Esq., former Cuyahoga County Commissioner and Member of the Ohio General Assembly

“Dr. E’s work is one of the most compelling and honest true-life stories of the dehumanizing horrors of domestic sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Her ability to escape her highly dangerous and abusive circumstances, the glory of her redemption, and her dedication to help others inspires all of us who are working to abolish this disturbing oppression of women and girls.”

—Paul M. Herbert, Administrative and Presiding Judge, Franklin County Municipal Court, Columbus, Ohio

“If Zora Neale Hurston had a god-daughter, she could be Elaine Richardson: on so many paths, she comes to these pages a deep student of life—the one who studies it up close, unguarded, and, with a musician’s ear for the song that lives in all of her experience, brings home its truths in their fearsome and freeing power. This book, like the life it describes, is a work of spirit Richardson records for us, another way to talk to, and talk about, God.”

—Ted Lardner, Professor of English, Cleveland State University

“Elaine Richardson’s autobiographical memoir, powerfully and eloquently written, reflects the tradition of the literary bildungsroman. Her book is a must-read for all those concerned about the social and educational crises in Black communities, particularly among Black girls and women. She holds nothing back in this story of her life in the world of pimps and ho’s and the magnetizing pull of drug addiction. She rose to the ranks of boss ho, getting “White Girl pay,” and she was arrested over 200 times. Dr. Richardson, aka Dr. E, neither glorifies nor sensationalizes this former life. Rather PHD to Ph.D. presents the raw, uncut truth of that life which held a grip on Elaine from the age of thirteen (and her first pregnancy) until she was in her late twenties.  Her story is that of many thousands gone and the still-lingering effects of colorism and linguistic shame, that has left its mark on both women and men in our communities—the legacy of the African Holocaust, neo-enslavement and US apartheid. Elaine’s inspirational life and this narrative account represent the triumph of the human spirit and the indomitable Will to survive–and thrive–“against all odds” (as Tupac would have it). Rising from the ashes of poverty and the debilitatingn effects of street life, she has become an award-winning scholar and champion of the African American quest for literacy and freedom.”

—Dr. Geneva Smitherman, University Distinguished Professor, Emerita English and African American and African Studies – Michigan State University