May 27th, 2010
02:25 PM ET
4 years ago

Rice to write memoir about her White House years

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that she will write a memoir about her eight years in the White House.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that she will write a memoir about her eight years in the White House.

(CNN) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that she will write a memoir about her eight years in the White House, but only after her family memoir "Extraordinary, Ordinary People" is released. The first book, which recalls much of the Rice family's time during the Civil Rights era in Birmingham, will be published by Crown and is scheduled to go on sale October 12.

Rice spoke at an author panel during the 10th annual Book Expo America, a gathering of publishing and book retailers held at New York's Javits Center. Also on hand was moderator and Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who sheepishly admitted as he introduced Rice: "I am not particularly familiar with her work–but I hear good things."

After thanking Stewart for his 'stirring introduction,' Rice said she felt could not yet write a White House memoir until people understood the "personal and implausible journey" she had taken from being born in 1950s segregated Alabama to being named the first female African-American to lead the State Department. All of this happened, Rice said, due to her parents, John and Angelena Rice.

A guidance counselor/preacher and school teacher respectively, Mr. And Mrs. Rice never made more than $60,000 annually, Rice said. Yet they "believed in the transformative power of education and the armor of control it can put around you," she said.

Despite being raised in a city resistant to quality education for blacks, Rice's parents used their meager resources to provide their only child with piano lessons at 3. She also took French and ballet. She never learned to swim as a child because Birmingham Public Safety official Eugene "Bull" Connors forbade blacks and whites from sharing public swimming pools.

Regardless, Rice's parents refused to let the racial tensions limit her potential. "Even if I could not have a hamburger at a Woolworth's counter, my mom taught me that I could be President of the United States," Rice said.

A long-time Republican, despite being mentored in international affairs by the Josef Kobel, the father of Democratic Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, Rice said her family's introduction into the GOP resulted from a Jim Crow "poll test." The now illegal practice of requiring black voters to answer questions before being permitted to vote, poll tests were 'the teeth of Jim Crow,' Rice said.

While her mother answered the name of the first U.S. President, George Washington, correctly and was allowed to vote, her father was asked to identify the number of beans in a jar, she said. Unable to do so, John Rice later learned of a woman poll worker who would allow him to vote if he aligned himself with the GOP. "And that is how my father became a Republican," she said.

While they did see Rice to on to graduate from Stanford University, and eventually become a provost there, her parents never lived to see her in the White House. Her mother lost a 15-year-battle with breast cancer in 1985. Her dad died just before George W. Bush was inaugurated.

Still she recalls them showing her a photo of an eight-year-old Condoleezza RIce standing outside the White House where she believes it was grandfather who told her at the time: "You may be standing out here now, but you will be working in there someday."


Filed under: Condoleezza Rice
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Maybe she will reveal why Chevron named a supertanker after her...and how much money she owns in Chevron stock, or how much money she got when she was on their board of directors, or how much money she gets in "deferred" retirement bonuses in comparison to Cheney. Bush, Cheney and RIce all from Big Oil. Who knew we went to war in Iraq for oil and wrecklessly drill oil a mile deep in the ocean with no regard to public safety.

    May 27, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Larry

    Yep, and I bet there won't be a shred of truth in it.

    May 27, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Dano

    Ooooooh I like a good kiss and tell story! I can only imagine the dirt she could dish on the Bush administration if she chooses to.

    May 27, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Gay – definitely gay.

    May 27, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Ed FL

    It should not take long,as she and the Bush admin accomplished nothing but having Americas youth Killed in a phoney war.

    May 27, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Ron in California

    Secretary Rice is a class act. I was very impressed with how she stood her ground in the Political driven Iraq hearings. She made the Dems look like nit wits. The Dems today i think are finding that President Bush didn't have it wrong afterall. They are carying on most of his policies. Go Condie!

    May 27, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. david john

    how could this seemingly smart, savvy and lovely woman get mixed with that bunch of lying, thieving, moneygrubbing, evil morons......makes you think she might just be a great actress instead who sold her soul like the rest of them to the devil.

    May 27, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Jacob

    So she's going to lay on more hype about "yellow cake" and non-existent WMDs? It would be refreshing if she'd just flat out say "I was wrong." But remember, she's a Republican, so don't hold your breath.

    May 27, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. A Kickin' Donkey

    It will probably be the only erudite and civil book to come out of the Bush Administration ... as such the GOP faithful probably won't buy it.

    May 27, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Choice that matters

    I would definitly not want to buy any of the books that Bush admin has written but............. would love to read Condoleezza Rices accounts. I am definitly looking forward to that. She was one of the hardest working poeple in Bush's cabinet.

    May 27, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. E. Elliott

    Let's get the details on her affair with W and why she would stoop that low.

    May 27, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    I'll write her book right now, and spare all both of you who will read it some time and money.

    "I was Bush's lap dog who only did what she was told to do by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. And I went down as the most infective Secretary of State EVER."

    That about sums it up, in a nutshell.

    May 27, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Duck Fallas

    Isn't she sweet? Thanks for 9/11, Condi. That was fun.

    May 27, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. AnProf

    Too bad the Left could never accept a smart woman who rejected their philosophy, and instead sought to smear her with Uncle Tom, Oreo, Aunt Jemima jokes, etc.
    Dr. Rice is an awesome role model, someone who stands on her own intellectual strength and rigorous education for her advancements in life, rather than currying favoritism, cronyism, and hand-outs.

    May 27, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. 52 Pick-up

    How many pages will it take to describe her relationship with her husband..er, I mean Mr President!!

    May 27, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Fed Up!

    Condi Rice's memoirs:

    Title Page
    Dedication
    Forword
    Chapter One – Accomplishments as Secretary of State – None
    Chapter Two – Treaties Negotiated as Secretary of State – None
    Chapter Three – Accords Rached – None
    Epilogue
    Acknowledgements
    Biliography
    Backpage

    Total Pages – 10
    Price: $44.95

    The Cliff's Notes version will probably be longer.

    May 27, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. David

    Its funny that all these politicians always want to write books about their experiences. It is especially funny considereing that when they have to testify to congress about anything its like pulling teeth. I dont think congress was ever able to get a straight answer out of her regarding the events leading up to the intel failiures of 9/11. She should write about that how she ignored intel on potential attacks and threats, that she was essentially a failure at her job and probably the worst national security advisors ever. Her efforts in the state department were not much better. Dont get me wrong, I think she is an incredible person, accomplished and intelligent, but a failure at the jobs she held for our government. If she writes any book about it, I hope it brings the truth to light regarding not just any accomplishments she had, but also her failures.

    May 27, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. one voice

    If condi told the truth, there is no doubt in my mind She would go straight to jail.

    May 27, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Angus McDugan

    Yawn. This is history and unless there is something to learn from history, America should be focused on the future.

    May 27, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. AJ

    A guidance counselor/preacher and school teacher raised the most evil woman in America. How did that happen?

    May 27, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. red

    Condi's book title: "George THE white meat"

    May 27, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Shirley in California

    Do you plan to call Bush your husband again sweetie like you did a few years ago? She is a disgrace. She wants to proclaim her "civil rights legacy" in hopes black people will buy the book and reach out to her. Then she will spring her white house years on us. Please go back into hiding along with the other despicable people you worked with. Your legacy/short story is NOT one which will sit in my collection of black history books. Please just go away!

    May 27, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. d

    Nobody cares

    May 27, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Leslie

    Do you think we will hear the real truth??? Doubt it!!!!!

    May 27, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. larry

    Another Bush crony cashing in after helping to destroy America.

    May 27, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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