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Beverly Black Johnson hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, born in the liberal city of San Francisco, raised in East Palo Alto from the age of six. The youngest of four, if asked to define her child hood she would say in one word-lonely.
By age 17 Beverly would experience the death of her step-father, the suicide of her only brother and would barely graduate high school in 1977. Between 1977 and 1980 she made several attempts to attend college only to drop out yielding her destiny to a booming electronics industry where she would learn the trade from laser’s to electrodes and everything in between. This trade would prove valuable for over 20 years with bouts of drug and alcohol abuse intertwined. In 1982 she gave birth to her first child, a very healthy baby boy. In 1984 Beverly, after falling deep into the crack epidemic, gave birth to an underweight, crack addicted baby girl. By age 3 and 5 the kids were brought into the "system" by her father vowing not to lose another child. While her mother and sisters fought tirelessly to keep the kids together, Beverly's bout with drugs continued. Years later after going in and out of drug programs, jail and the streets, Beverly moved to Oakland to assist in her father’s general contracting business and to “get clean.” Beverly became active in the reunification process to have her children returned to her as she began to clean up her life. That was short lived because Beverly would be forced by a child welfare system to move back to San Mateo County or risk her children being moved to a foster home in the county of Oakland.
To prevent the uprooting of her children, Beverly hesitantly moved back to East Palo Alto, "the old hood and the old friends", only for the drug cycle to begin again. Not more than a year later she gave birth to a baby boy who tested positive for crack and wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital with her. A change would come that would allow her to make a vow to turn her life around. She never looked back.
Beverly did complete the reunification process and did regain custody of her children. She was told she would never get her baby boy that tested positive. She regained custody of him when he was 18 months old. Her story will be told in a full biographical account of her life’s trials and tribulations.
Now with 19 years “crackfree” Beverly has returned to her first love, writing. She is the publisher of the award-winning book, Gumbo For The Soul: The Recipe for Literacy in the Black Community which garnered an endorsement from talk show host, Tavis Smiley. She continues to aspire with writing, releasing a 2nd Gumbo book, Gumbo For The Soul: Here's Our Child, Where's The Village?" and Gumbo For The Soul: Women of Honor: Special Pink Edition heightening awareness of Breast Cancer and honoring women that have made a difference in the lives of the anthology submitter's. Gumbo For The Soul Publications continues to produce a series of books other projects are coming down the pipeline which includes opening the way for other genre’s such as Christian Literature, Biography’s and Poetry.
Beverly has found her true gift in writing poetry with gospel lyrics being her passion. Life has been no cake walk but now that Beverly has turned hers around she has much to be thankful for. She lost her mother in 2007 but not before thanking her for her relentless fight to keep her first 2 children from being separated by the system prior to her regaining custody of them. They are now grown and have their own story to tell. Beverly gave birth a fourth time to a beautiful girl, now 15.
Her testimony bears truth that All Things are possible through Christ Jesus.