Tomorrow's Tomorrow is a pioneering sociological study of black girls growing up in the city. The author, in a substantial new introduction, considers what has changed and what has remained constant for them since the book was first published in 1971. Joyce A. Ladner spent four years interviewing, observing, and socializing with more than a hundred girls living in the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis. She was challenged by preconceived academic ideas and labels and by her own past as a black child in rural Mississippi. Rejecting the white middle-class perspective of deviant behavior, she examined the expectations and aspirations of these representative black girls and their feelings about parents and boyfriends, marriage, pregnancy, and child-rearing. Ladner asked what life was like in the urban black community for the average girl, how she defined her roles and behaviors, and where she found her role models. She was interested in any significant disparity between aspirations and the resources to achieve them. To what extent did the black teenager share the world of her white peers? If the questions were searching, the conclusions were provocative. According to Ladner, The total misrepresentation of the Black community and the various myths which surround it can be seen in microcosm in the Black female adolescent.
Joyce A. Ladner is acting president of Howard University and the author of Mixed Families: Adopting across Racial Boundaries. She is the editor, with Peter Edelman, of Adolescence and Poverty: Challenge for the '90s.