Not many people can add the position of National Security Advisor to their list of achievements, especially if those people are women. Condoleezza Rice, however, can place the accomplishment right up there with being a previous member of President Bush’s foreign-policy team, and tenured professor and provost in the political science department of the prestigious Stanford University. Her distinguished career has taken her from Alabama, to Colorado, to California and lastly to the White House-all by age 47. But just who is this woman, who was a key player in the government’s response to the September 11 tragedies and who some believed had the chance to be America’s president?
Condoleeza is a loyal, deeply religious woman who appreciates music, football, and the history of Russia. Her ancestors were both slave owners and slaves, while her immediate family consisted of music-loving middle class professors. The name Condoleezza originates from an Italian phrase, “con dolcezza” which means to play with sweetness. Condoleezza started piano lessons at age three and filled her childhood with ballet, figure skating, tutoring in French and Spanish and piles of books by her bedside table. Her parents wanted Condoleezza to be more educated than her white peers in the South. From the very beginning they encouraged Condolezza that she could acheive anything she wanted in life, regardless of her race and skin colour.
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Condoleezza Rice was born on November 14, 1954 while her father, John Wesley Rice was preaching the Sunday morning service at Westminster Presbyterian church (p. 36).
Condi’s mother, Angelena Ray, was a music teacher (p.32).
Both of Condi’s parents and their families placed a great deal of emphasis on education, beginning with her ancestors on her father’s side of the family during the Civil War era (p.24).
Her mother’s side of the family, the Ray’s, also passed on an enthusiasm for learning. (p. 28) Condi’s great-grandmother also possessed great love for the piano. Condi was actually the fourth pianist in her mother’s family (p. 38).
She began playing when she was about three, and continued to play the rest of her life. In college, piano performance was actually her major (p.69).
When Condi was five, there was no Kindergarten, so her mother wanted her to start 1st grade immediately because she could already read “fluently”. The principal of the school wouldn’t let her, so she was home schooled that first year because her mother did not want her to waste an entire year of learning. Condi eventually skipped 1st and 7th grade because she was so advanced (p. 39).
Her mother also enrolled Condi in various public schools, “exposing her to a variety of social and educational experiences (p.43).”