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Woodbury resident Core’ Cotton has released an autobiographical book with her mother Jeanne Dolphus Cotton called “A Three Hundred and Sixty-Degree Perspective: A Mother - Daughter Journey of Come Here Meets Been There.” The book details the parallel journey that the mother and daughter have had throughout their lives. (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

A legacy left on paper

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A legacy left on paper
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Woodbury resident Core’ Cotton has a lot in common with her mother Jeanne Dolphus Cotton – both are musicians, both have a passion for education and both like to share stories.

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“Our journeys are really very similar with our professions, our interests, our passions,” Core’ said. “Mom and I have been thick as thieves since before birth.”

The duo can now add another thing to the list – authors.

Core’ and Jeanne have co-written a book together, “A Three Hundred and Sixty-Degree Perspective: A Mother-Daughter Journey of Come Here Meets Been There,” which details the parallel journey that the mother and daughter have had throughout their lives.

“It was important for me to have something that would go on after my mom is long gone or for that matter when I’m long gone,” Core’ said. “Generations can understand who they are and where they came from since they would be able to have a foundation.

“It’s a way to preserve our legacy.”

“A Three Hundred and Sixty-Degree Perspective” was released in November.

It was Mother’s Day in 2012 when Core’ and Jeanne first began working on their book.

The idea for a book was sparked after Jeanne, who lives in Illinois, started to become more introspective about her life.

“Mom has always been a pillar and everyone’s used to her being their rock,” Core’ said. “As she started to approach her 80s, I saw a significant change in her.”

Jeanne began questioning whether or not she had done enough with her life or if she would leave a legacy behind.

“She has lived such a beautiful life, and is still living a beautiful life,” Core’ said. “So, I said ‘Mom, your legacy is your children.’ She gave each of us a piece of her.”

Core’ and Jeanne decided that the best way to preserve their legacies and their stories would be to write them down.

“Initially I had no plans to release it publicly,” Core’ said. “It was just something for the family and it was our effort to tell our story.”

“A Three Hundred and Sixty-Degree Perspective” details how both Core’ and Jeanne have had lives filled with music. Jeanne was part of a musical group named Jeanne and Darlings who were produced by Isaac Hayes at Trax Records, whereas Core’ spent eight years touring with the Twin Cities-based Sounds of Blackness group.

Additionally, the book looks at how both Core’ and Jeanne moved beyond music to become an attorney and a psychologist, respectively.

While writing the book, which took roughly a year, Core’ said she learned a lot about her mom and what makes her who she is.

“I learned things about my mom that I didn’t know,” she said. “I knew what she was to me and to my siblings, but to see what she was to everyone else was amazing.”

Jeanne also enjoyed sharing with her daughter.

“It was exciting to talk about how we’ve had like experiences,” she said.

Whether or not anyone buys the book isn’t important, Core’ and Jeanne said, since it’s a personal story to them.

But what is important is the reason behind the book.

“You have to tell your story to preserve your legacy,” Core’ said. “Everybody has a story and you need to let your words pass that on.”

“A Three Hundred and Sixty-Degree Perspective: A Mother - Daughter Journey of Come Here Meets Been There” is available for purchase on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Xlibris.com. 

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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