BURKE, Va. – A long awaited memoir chronicling the life of an Aliquippa native is finally available.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Julia Jeter Cleckley was the first nationally promoted African-American female general officer in the Active Army National Guard.
Her story is one of a woman’s transformation from a frail, frightened girl, to a powerful and independent leader of men and women in uniform. A Promise Fulfilled; My life as a wife and mother, soldier and General Officer, recounts Cleckley’s struggles to care for her children and advance her career despite terrible loss and unspeakable tragedy.
“My youngest daughter had always asked me to write my story,” said Cleckley.
“This book is a fulfillment of that promise and, I hope, encouragement for others to achieve things beyond what they may think is possible.”
Cleckley is a well known public speaker, often covering topics regarding diversity, the importance of mentoring, women’s issues, African-American history, women in the military and others. At every speaking engagement, her audiences have asked for more about her life and background. Throughout her career, she blazed trails, shattered glass ceilings and knocked down walls of resistance which will, undoubtedly, make life easier for the women and men who come after her.
“My life and experiences are what made me who and what I am,” said Cleckley. “I have always said it’s not enough to be the first. You have to make it easier for others to come behind you. I hope some can learn by reading about my experiences as well as my mistakes.”
A Promise Fulfilled was four years in the making and presents an intimate look at the role of women in uniform, the demands required of a wife and mother as she balances family with a military career and the spirit it takes to overcome the tremendous obstacles life throws you.
The book is co-authored by M. L. Doyle, whose first book, I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen—My Journey Home, chronicled the story of Shoshana Johnson who was held prisoner by Iraqi troops and later rescued by Marines. The book, published by Touchstone in 2010, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the literary category for best Autobiography/memoir.
Together, Cleckley and Doyle have written a stirring recounting of Cleckley’s life, from her formative years in Aliquippa, PA to her enlisted years in the Women’s Army Corps and her service in the National Guard both part-time and active duty.
Published in January 2014, the book is available in ebook and trade paperback at all online retailers.