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Jessye Norman is not only one of the world's most admired and beloved opera stars--she is an American icon whose life story is as inspiring as the fictional plot triumphs she sang onstage. Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, a descendant of many generations of hardworking slave and free ancestors, she grew up amid the challenges of Jim Crow racism, with the civil rights movement just beginning to awaken. Nurtured by a close family and tight-knit community centered on the local church, Jessye sang songs and spirituals constantly, never dreaming that it might lead to a career. Only when she watched a documentary about the legendary Marian Anderson did she first realize that singing could be a profession. Decades later, after a meteoric rise at the Berlin Opera, a long-delayed debut at the Metropolitan Opera, and forays into spirituals, blues, jazz, and other roots music, she has become one of America's cultural treasures. This is an inspiring woman's account of an astonishing life.--From publisher description. The Grammy Award-winning opera star describes her childhood in the segregated South, the community values and role models that shaped her ambitions, her meteoric rise at the Berlin Opera and the accomplishments that have established her as one of America's most decorated singing artists.