Hush Money

How One Woman Proved Systemic Racism in her Workplace and Kept her Job

Fiction - Social Issues
146 Pages
Reviewed on 11/15/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jacquie Abram had a career in higher education that she was very good at & that she enjoyed. A career that paid her an income, which as a single mother of two girls was the only income, that allowed her to not only provide for her family, but also pay her bills. A career that spanned nearly two decades & by any measure should’ve been a successful career. But it wasn’t. Because throughout her career, Jacquie experienced racism in the workplace, not the kind you see in a lot of movies, books, and TVs shows about racism that occurred decades ago during a time when it was more overt & easily spotted, but the kind of racism that is more covert, hidden, & harder to prove.

And so her career was derailed multiple times by multiple employers & she suffered racial trauma that, to this day, she has not fully recovered from. And when the same thing happened to others including both of her girls after they began careers of their own, she pulled herself out of corporate America, wrote HUSH MONEY, a book inspired by true events & co-authored by her girls, & began selling it from the trunk of her car in March 2021 to provide employers with a better way to understand racism, provide employees with a better way to fight it & survive the battle, and provide allies with a better way to see and feel the FULL impact of modern-day racism .

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite

Hush Money by Deborah Harris, Jaquie Abram, and Delilah Harris is an explosive novel that focuses on systemic racism. All Ebony, a black woman, ever wanted was to have a decent and steady source of income, to take care of her mother and son. Her dream came true, or so she thought, when she was offered the role of secretary at Daebrun Career Institute. However, her second boss, Ms. Kelly, was racist and made Ebony’s life a living hell, which started the bullying trend. There’s only so much that one person can take, especially when she carries the burden of her mom’s failing health. She’s left with three options; become the poster girl for pity, give up her job and run away, or take these bullies head-on!

Reading Hush Money by Deborah Harris, Jacquie Abram, and Delilah Harris gave me the chills. People of color go through some of the worst working conditions in the corporate world. I thank the authors for putting this issue in the spotlight and weaving a fantastic story around it. The plot was ironclad, the writing style was engaging, and the dialogues had depth, evoking in me a cocktail of emotions. I read this book in one sitting because the suspense had me engrossed. I loved the character development, especially the main protagonist. She was the strength that every other person needed, but she broke down so many times, showing that she was human. This book shows me that humans are equal regardless of race, color, language, and creed. Hush Money deserves to have a sequel.


I appreciated the “Never give up” spirit of this amazing book. It’s a story of sorrow and hostility and then hope and triumph!

Paul Sorum

A really good read. The methods used to document and track racially discrimination in this story are vitally important to understand. The work ethic and faith that motivated the main character, Ebony, in fighting and winning in the face of such evil hatred is inspiring. A must read.


I read this in two sittings, as it really played off similar experiences I had.
People don't realize how overwhelmingly stressfull, workplace harassment is.
It takes a toll on your physical and emotional life.
It is a constant battle of "defending yourself" as you try to bring forth evidence.
I have to say, their retaliation was the same as mine.
They counter-complain against you, saying you do it too....its' a classic HR strategy.
She is lucky to be able to tell her story, as most "whistleblowers" end up with loss of job, death threats, black-balled from their expertise, or a "gag-order."
She is a "whistleblower," and I say that with emense respect!
She was super privy to keeping meticulous records, and that made the ending.....well. buy the book and find out the ending....I'm not going to make it easy for everyone.
In this instance her discrimination/retaliation was 100% racial discrimination, full-stop.
Being "micro-managed" in itself is bullying.
Discrimination and retaliation go hand-in-hand. One doesn't happen without the other.
There are many types on employment discrimination which is why this book is a must read.
Educate yourself, so you know how to react to it.
She spells it out for you~


Just like Ebony not wanting to return to work to endure more torment, sometimes it is difficult for the reader to continue. But this book is important for understanding the nonstop, day-to-day tension a toxic work environment can have your whole life. There will always be a Dr. Taylor and a Michael looking for a target to bully. This book lets us walk alongside an everyday woman dealing with the struggles of racism and succeeding! Thank you, Jacquie, for bringing us this story!

Devang Patel

Heart wrenching story especially knowing that this is based on true events. Someone who is also having a similar experience at workplace it addresses some major issues. The best part is the conclusion with a well written action plan. So happy for the individual who actually got the settlement.

Charles Hernes

This book is a must read. This reader was so proclaimed over this book. The author did some very good research and wrote with the intent to entertain and inform this author about the things that were going on in the story regarding to racism and being harassed in the workplace. This reader was excited about the climax when the reader was about to be fired and wondering if justice would prevail.

When this reader saw that Ebony had written the email, thinking she is very smart and new what she was doing. This really kept this book interesting. The character Ebony was very smart to do what she did. Keeping good documentation is a good way to keep track of what is going on when something is coming up against you. The way the author had the characters bunch up against because they didn’t like or respect her ethics. She seemed very intuitive and despite the obstacles, she made it through with justice behind her.

This reader would give this book a 5-star rating. The author Jacquie did a very good storyline and made the climax exciting. She kept this book exciting, that this reader couldn’t put it down, till the book was finished. It was interesting, and wondering how it would end, was the actual thing whether there was going to be justice for Ebony? It makes this reader think about the real life, and what happens in corporations today, and why they may lose the good workers due to nonsense like this. It was an eye-opening read to the real world.

This is a wonderful book. As a teacher, it brought some real-life reminders of how these things can happen to someone, and with no back up it feels like there is no justice. This reader would also have students in high school read this, it would open up their eyes to the real world and how things can happen in the working world.

Amazon Customer

The first page I was hooked. I realized I had been through similar scenarios in my past work places. This book not only made me learn the importance of evidence but it shows how important it is to store it. I am thrilled I learned so much about how to handle systemic racism in the workplace. It is shame we have to hope for the best yet plan for the worse!!

Susan Keefe

Well readers, the author of this incredible work of fiction reveals that despite the years of campaigning against racial discrimination, racial prejudice sadly still exists in the workplace. The story which follows is inspirational, a tale of strength, integrity and determination.

The protagonist, Ebony, had a lot on her plate, going through a divorce, and a mother, she is living with her adopted mother, Babette, and battling against the odds, when her luck changes. A career opportunity arises, and although temporary at first, the true skills of this young woman of colour are very soon appreciated, and she becomes a rising star at the Daebrun Career Institute. However, as we are to discover soon things change, along with jealousy, the ugly head of systemic racial prejudice arises…

The story which follows tells of the horrific and cruel racial discrimination which the protagonist endures in the various jobs she undertook at the Daebrun Career Institute. These injustices were carried out by work colleagues, and her superiors. She endured terrible treatment which left her feeling worthless and degraded. However, whilst her eyes shed tears, and her heart broke, she, with the guidance of her mother found strength through God and Jesus, learning not to fight evil with evil, but to trust in her faith.

Yet, this clever woman who gave so much to her career also documented every indiscretion and false accusation, giving her solid references, something she needed countless times.

Despite the discrimination against her she used her wit and intelligence to reveal the perpetrators, and false accusations, and despite everything rose through the company to dizzy heights. However, she needed her strength for her personal life too, as whilst her career was sometimes in turmoil, she also had heart-breaking personal tragedy to deal with,

This work of fiction is truly one of fortitude, determination, and courage, from which we can learn that anything is possible, with faith. It sends a clear message to rise against racial discrimination, and reveals that with honour, and detailed notations, justice can prevail.

In the character Ebony, the author Jacquie Abram reveals some of her struggles as a single mother, facing prejudice, and it is just this element of reality which makes “Hush Money” such an unforgettable, and inspirational story!

Kathryn Frey

This is an absolutely engrossing novel that could have been ripped right from the front pages. Having worked for a university for twelve years (that is now closed) I witnessed discrimination of all forms. This novel is true to what I personally have seen as well as including the facts of what this type of treatment can do to a person mentally and physically.
Ebony, our protagonist, is a hard-working single mom who just wants to make life better for herself, her son, and her mother. In the course of working her way up the ladder, she is a victim of terrible racism. I finished this book in one sitting as I was not only familiar with the subject matter, but I wanted to see what happened to Ebony. What she goes through in this novel is absolutely horrible. I cried when she found a racial slur etched into an item in her office.
Sadly, this plays out all too often in businesses small and large. If you have never seen this happen, read this book. It is true to life, unfortunately. I appreciate the hard work the authors went through to make this as realistic as possible, up until the last couple of pages this could have been a true, personal account of one woman’s journey. You will cheer Ebony on and cry with her as she goes from victim to survivor. I was thrilled to discover that there is a second novel in the series, which I will be purchasing. Five stars!

Amazon Customer

This sad and all too familiar discrimination story is told with grace and dignity. The author not only lets the reader understand, truly feel, and react to her situation but she also presents the facts in an easy to understand manner. The outline of the facts is so neatly woven into the authors journey and personal story that it becomes part of the story. In reading this, I realized that I could take the steps the author did and implement them in my own world should the occasion arise – that’s how well the steps she took are documented. I loved the elegant way the author laid out her gut-wrenching ordeal and was able to share a very personal and deeply emotional experience so that others could understand and learn. I feel like this book should be used in corporate training as it documents and highlights not only blatant acts but also subtle ones that not only people of color but women and people of different sexual orientation, etc. experience across the nation on an ongoing and daily basis. I love the authors honesty, openness and candor throughout the book and I applaud her guts for writing it all own for the world to read. Well done, well done.

Amazon Customer

It was written very clearly in an unbiased recounting. Clearly something experienced every day by ,many African-Americans.


The book is worth buying a reading a million times. It portrays in gory detail how horrible it is working in a hostile work environment where some people are set on destroying you career, your reputation and your mental and sometimes even physical health. I love how every chapter ends with undying enthusiasm that the discrimination and mobbing will stop and everything will turn around and still, it continues. This portrays what a target of workplace mobbing feels so well. It is unfathomable that people can be so evil and yet each new chapter brings more and more abuse. The end is victory for the protagonist but it all seems like what she gets as remuneration for the hell she was put through is not enough.

The book is a sample of what one can expect in a workplace mobbing and how to deal and protect oneself against the constant onslaught of abuse. Definitely recommend!


Have you ever been down on your luck ? Stuck in an every continuing circle . Ebony was and she was tired of being in the circle . “The want ads, on the other hand, were not so great. Jobs that I was qualified for and that also paid well were far and few between, and I was tired of working dead-end jobs that made it hard to make ends meet.” As most people who job hunt . Ebony is like any normally person struggling . As shown in the passage from the book above . Sometimes our desperation, will lead us into a job. A job that sounds so perfect that , you run for it . As time wears on , we find out the job is a nightmare . The fight that Ebony has is a steep hill , she may mange to conquer. Or it may end up conquering her ? Ebony’s journey is one filled with discrimination and prejudice . Yet even as she fights for equal and fair work place . Things still are made hard for as an example ,”Corporate received three anonymous complaints from employees in Temple," Amanda said. "Each one accused you of reverse discrimination against Caucasian employees.". The discrimination doesn’t stop there , it reaches federal levels . Some of the highest you can go her in the United States . Unfortunately not all lows turn into highs , “Things at work were great for the next five months, but in August 2016, fear was put in the heart of every leader from the Chancellor at each campus on down, when Corporate announced the appointment of Dr. Harry Gershon as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Daebrun division.” . It seems as if ebony’s worries just continue to grow and get harder . I cannot wait to check out the rest of the novels in this series .

Sara - old enough to know better

This book told a story that is way too common in today's world. I am an 71 year old woman who has worked in higher education and corporate America, and I've seen bigotry as far back as I can remember. When it affects the workplace, we have no solid ground to stand on by crippling a person's success in spite of how hard they work and how many positive accolades they receive as a valuable employee.

The victim suffers terrible consequences and this story gives us a taste of that. "Sad" does not describe it well enough. What is "Sad" is that so many of us don't understand how getting rid of bigotry, especially in the workplace, benefits ALL of us. When a culture depends on people working hard so everyone enjoys the rewards, why are we so foolish to punish people because of their differences and ignore the contributions that their work provides. Certainly COVID-19, during this last year, should have made everyone realize that. Remember the term "Essential Workers", and pay attention to how many of those people look different than we do.

Virginia Randall

I love when fiction writers use their talents to highlight real issues, and this book definitely did that. From the very beginning, Jacquie Abram immersed me completely into Ebony's world -- a world that, despite being fiction, is very real and very relatable. Abram made it easy to legitimately care about Ebony's character from page one, and that really made the issues that Ebony faces throughout the book hit extra hard, almost like those things were happening to a close friend.

For me, one of the reasons this was such a compelling book was that I could stop on just about any page and easily visualize what was happening in the book happening to someone I know. Many of the things that happen to Ebony were things that could be considered subtle or common, and it really highlighted the concept that racism can easily be overlooked or dismissed -- it doesn't have to be obviously aggressive or violent. I also thought the author did a good job at covering the thought process of how to deal with what was happening. The line between "bad but manageable" and "too far" is something a lot of people have to deal with and decide for themselves every day, and while this book had a hope-inducing outcome, it also made it very apparent that many people who encounter systemic racism don't have a "good" option available.

Overall, I really enjoyed the insights offered throughout this book, and I felt like it gave me a good perspective that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. This is definitely a must read!


This is a fictional book written by three ladies Deborah McDaniel, Jacqueline Harris and Delilah Ossa but is inspired from true life events. I found this a very well written detailed account of what goes on behind closed doors of pretty much about every work place I have ever worked, but the setting of this one is Corporate America and it about Systemic Racism. These ladies done an excellent job of capturing the thoughts and feelings of what actually goes on, and how the reactions of how one handles the situation can affect the outcome. When trust is broken by many of those we trust around us, it is often hard to know where to turn. As main character Ebony tells of her struggles to just work and try to embrace her journey through this life, she is slapped in the face by so many obstacles, but she is a very smart cookie and finds a way of documenting all accounts , that later provides to be very beneficial for the outcome of her situation at Daebrun Institute. I found that I could relate to many of her situations and found it very comforting to know that others have many of the same struggles even though we come from very different walks of life. How we handle our situations and react is a very important part of how things may turn out. Also being a very trusting person will put you into different variations as to how things may or may not work out. Having a strong trust in her and her mothers Spiritual belief is another way I could relate to this book. I would recommend this easy to read book to anyone , but especially those who may be just starting their work life journey.

Twaina Jones

Jacquie Abram outlines a clear, healthy, and non-confrontational approach to protecting oneself from racist individuals in the workplace. This is the perfect book for allies, and for those who work in upper management interested in understanding the emotional, mental, and physical trauma that black people face when navigating spaces filled with unfettered racism. Thank you Jacquie Abram for this Torch of Light! I will carry your wisdom in my heart everywhere I go!

John Graham

From the opening chapter to the very last page, this book is a roller coaster ride of emotion, disgust, heartache, and triumph. You have to keep reminding yourself that this really happened to someone and it's probably happening to someone as you read it.

Jacquie has found a way to brilliantly showcase the daily slights, the visible and invisible inequities, and the lengths that the power dominant culture will go to maintain the status quo. Hush Money is a masterclass on how to protect and defend yourself as a marginalized professional working in hostile environments.

You have no choice but to hang off the cliff that is created at every chapter's end. I finished this book in one sitting because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. This book gives you a first-person view of what it feels like to be excellent at your job and still be deemed inadequate by those around you who are less qualified but belong to the right circles.

Let this book be a reminder to those who are in power, that all things done in the dark will surely come to light. Especially when there's ironclad documentation. #MustRead #GreatRead