Tools Cultivate the Promised Land: Working Wisdom from My Grandparents’ Garden


Tools Cultivate

Deborah L. Parker

Deborah L. Parker operates from a platform of leadership, inspiration and action. She is an army veteran, motivational speaker, cancer survivor, business owner and author who believes in using the wit and gifts God gave her to help others professionally and personally. She grew up in Virginia, the eldest child of a single but very determined teen mother in the home of her wise maternal grandparents. These situations impacted her love of learning, history and culture tremendously.

With a bachelor’s in sociology and a master’s in human resource development, Parker blends them with military and corporate experience to manage her own company, the DPJ Training Group, where she specializes in seminars on careers, management, diversity and communications. She has also written for the AFRO on the same topics.

In the community, she is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, Va.

What was the impetus for writing this book?
I was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s last words, “We as a people will get to the Promised Land.” Growing up in the pre-civil rights era, my appreciation for his and other valiant workers for freedom and opportunity stayed with me. Raised in the home with my maternal grandparents, for poor Black folks of their era, the garden they cultivated to feed the family was their promised land because they had more control in that plot of land than anywhere else. Their actions and wisdom provided many lessons for me.

What’s the overall theme?
Once we define our promised land, there are tools needed to work toward our goals. My grandparents had a tool shed from which they pulled out the tools needed to work the land, using their know-how . I use metaphors of those tools connected to actions we need to do i.e., dig up our roots with a hoe of history.

What surprised you about the development of the book?
That the journey to publication was a 20 year process. I started a version of this book in 1993, taking parts of it from my master’s thesis on Black women and leadership. The writing evolved into a family legacy book after my grandmother passed that same year and as a historical piece from attending the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington.

What one thing do you want the reader to remember forever?
We have ancestral gifts at our disposal to support us in achieving what we want in life. It’s important to remember some of the “old folks” ways and insights. “Right ain’t changed in all these years,” is one of the quotes from my grandmother that emphasizes this perspective.

For what audience is your book written?
African Americans who value acknowledging history, culture and the legacy of those who toiled hard for the progress we have today.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write. Don’t worry about the order of your piece initially. Also start a blog to capture writings connected to the themes of your genre. And find your sources of inspiration. Nature and faith are mine. I love long walks near the woods or along sources of water or hilly scenery with blue skies and fluffy clouds. I hear God speaking to me during those times. The lessons of my ancestors also become clear to me during those moments.

List other books you’ve written.
I have 4 other nonfiction books and they all can be found on Amazon.
For People of Strength, Soul, and Spirit: Seven Guidelines for Life & Career Success Hardcore Leadership: 11 Master Lessons from      My Airborne Ranger Uncle’s “Final Jump”
Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey Life is A Review: Observations      and Collections of My Passages Through the Times

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