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Posted November 14, 2009
Black and White Make Brown by Cornelia Brown ISBN 978-1-60696-642-6
Review by Chris Phillips
Black and White Make Brown centers on Cornelia Brown's autobiography, including her family in Germany and her in-laws in the USA. Brown is a German émigré married to an American service man (retired). From the Bavarian highlands of southern Germany to Louisiana, she has traveled far to have a marriage with the man she loved.
The story begins with the Title quote, Kayla, Brown's granddaughter, referring to conversations with her school friends, say, ".I know Black and White makes Brown." Although this quote is key to the book and is in the first chapter, it is the true message of the whole story.
Brown's husband is an African-American. But she married him when such unions were not acceptable. She left Germany because her husband-to-be was in the military and stationed in the States. However, on both sides of the ocean, in two different countries, she encountered the same hate, prejudice and bias because she chose to be different. She chose an inter-racial marriage. Even in the state where the marriage was performed, it was illegal to marry across racial lines. This issue persists with recent news articles highlighting similar couples in Louisiana blocked from getting a marriage license by the refusal of the officials to grant one to a couple of different races.
Brown writes of her grandmother and mother enduring the ravages of WWII and her witnessing the pain and suffering of those times. Those hardships and troubles weren't noticeable to her as she was growing-up until she gained some independence. Then she started going to dance at clubs where US service men were. There and at home she began to see the bias toward around racial intermingling.
There are many problems and personal suffering revealed through the story. Brown writes of the courage of her husband and children as well as her husband's family. She also deals with prejudice as it is encountered while trying just to be herself.
As far as the publishing of the book goes, this reviewer is very disappointed by the book's size (6.7" x 4.9"). This makes the book feel unusually small in the hand and a challenge to read. However, this is an important tale to tell. It is a sad reminder that racial prejudice and inequities exist still, but it is also a lesson in the triumph of spirit.
This book should be read by everyone. And it should be read with an open mind and heart. It is hard to understand why there is still so much of this intolerance still existing. Race does not preclude any two people falling in love. It does not change anything in the people or their families, but the effects of prejudice are still experienced by people every day.
Posted October 6, 2009
This book is awesome! I picked up the book and could not put it down. The book will make you stop and think about your TRUE feelings about someone of a different race. It would make a excellent took to use in race relation training classes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.