"Do I raise my daughters to marry a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer, or do I raise my daughter's to become the teacher, the doctor or the lawyer," Itasker Thornton says in a tribute written by two of  her daughters, Dr. Jeanette Thornton and Dr. Rita Thornton.
And thus, the stage is set for the Thornton sisters' Friday, January 9 performance before nearly 1,000 participants at the Annual Dr. Carroll F. S. Hardy National Black Student Leadership Conference. Dr. Jeanette Thornton and Dr. Rita Thornton  shared their titillating experiences in the medic legal and entertainment fields Friday at 8 p.m. in the Richmond Marriott.
Their discussion and performance explores the sanctities their mother made to catapult them into careers that they say "many women only dream about." The sisters toured the country in the '60's and 70's as part of an all-girl jazz and dance band before Jeanette began a medical career and Rita entered law practice. Their other sisters are also accomplished professionals.


Dr. Jeanette F. Thornton and Dr. Rita Thornton

The book upon which the performance is based is entitled A Suitcase Full of Dreams: The Untold True Story of a Woman Who Dared to Dream" In it, they explore their youth from their mother's perspective, lending voice to her by writing in narrative form. Their book was a direct response to their sister Yvonne's book, The Ditch digger' s Daughter, which focused heavily on their father, while mostly ignoring their mother's.
Perhaps the most fitting tributes the sisters made to their late mother were the foundation and publishing company they founded Dream was published by The Thornton Sisters Publishing House, which was founded to ensure the silent struggle their mother endured would not continue to be ignored. They also .joined with their other sisters to create a foundation to provide college scholarships to women of color.
Because of their other's love and inspiration, many future students will be able to earn the college education that eluded Jeannette and Rita Thornton's mother