Flossie’s story of personal courage, tenacity, and strong values propels the reader through eras of discrimination, broken families, and the itinerant lifestyle of a traveling black entertainment family during and after the Depression. It is both a time capsule of an America seldom written about and a testament to one woman’s triumph over adversity, poverty, and illiteracy.
FLOSSIE TURNER LEWIS began delighting audiences with songs and dances when she was just two years old in 1935. Known by her stage name “Little Hot Mama,” she was the child of black show business stars Hot Papa and Dolly Turner. Flossie, along with her sister LuLu B. and brother Junior, traveled with their parents and performed as the Turner Family Revue. Her own show business career lasted for more than 40 years.
A woman of strength and determination, Flossie raised five children on her own, despite the fact that she could not read or write for most of her life. With the support of the Fayetteville Urban Ministry, the United Way, and her local community, she was finally able to realize her lifelong dream of literacy and received a high school diploma at the age of 72.
A motivating and inspiring personality, Flossie has lobbied Congress and addressed countless clubs and organizations on behalf of adult literacy programs. She has been featured in print articles, public service announcements, and on television and radio talk shows in her drive to promote the importance of literacy.
A most unlikely partnership was born when Flossie Turner Lewis at the age of 69 accepted the National Award For Excellence as the Outstanding Student of 2002 at the National Literacy Conference and met writer Paula Meseroll. Their journey together to chronicle Flossie’s amazing, inspirational, and truly American life’s story took over eight years to write and reach publication as LITTLE HOT MAMA.
Co-author PAULA MESEROLL is a public relations professional and an award-winning freelance writer and columnist whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, including "Syracuse University Magazine", "UB Today", "Central New Yorker Magazine", and "All Kids Considered". A summa cum laude graduate of Marywood University with a degree in communication arts/public relations, she is director of marketing and communications at Syracuse University.