Colored People: A Memoir

Colored People: A Memoir

4.2 5
by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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From an American Book Award-winning author comes a pungent and poignant masterpiece of recollection that ushers readers into a now-vanished "colored" world and extends and deepens our sense of African-American history, even as it entrances us with its bravura storytelling.


From an American Book Award-winning author comes a pungent and poignant masterpiece of recollection that ushers readers into a now-vanished "colored" world and extends and deepens our sense of African-American history, even as it entrances us with its bravura storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Affecting, beautifully written and morally complex...The heart of the memoir is Gates' portrait of his family, and its placement in a black society whose strength, richness and self-confidence thrived in the darkness of segregation."--Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times

"[Colored People] may well become a classic of American memoir."--The Boston Globe
Noted scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., currently head of the Afro-American Studies Department at Harvard, offers a memoir of his childhood and youth in the 1950s and '60s.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The two preeminent black American scholars address the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and community service in a series of brief essays. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The man touted as America's most celebrated black scholar reminisces to his daughters about his boyhood in the polluted, dying Allegheny Mountains' papermill town of Piedmont, West Virginia. Laying out the social and emotional topography of a world shifting from segregation to integration and from colored to Negro to black, Gates evokes a bygone time and place as he moves from his birth in 1949 to 1969, when he goes off to Yale University after a year at West Virginia's Potomac State College. His pensive and sometimes wistful narrative brims with the mysteries and pangs and lifelong aches of growing up, from his encounters with sexuality, to the discovery of intellectual exhilaration as he is marked to excel in school, to his suffering a crippling injury to one of his legs and struggling frightfully for his father's respect. There is much to recommend this book as a story of boyhood, family, segregation, the pre-Civil Rights era, and the era when Civil Rights filtered down from television to local reality. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/94.]-Thomas J. Davis, SUNY at Buffalo

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Colored People 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
OhioUniversityLancaster More than 1 year ago
Gates weaves the tale of his childhood growing up in Piedmont, West Virginia during the 1950’s and 60’s a tumultuous time in American history. This coming of age story is framed beautifully with Gates’ simple prose and interesting story telling techniques. You really get to know the people in his life. Although we that is the author and myself, are a decade apart and I am a white woman who grew up in the 1970’s in Southeastern, Ohio our lives weren’t that much different in a lot of ways. There just aren’t that many differences growing in poverty no matter you skin color. The Gates perhaps unbeknownst to him did differ that much from his white counterparts in impoverished lands of West Virginia and Southeast, Ohio. We suffered and they suffered from a dying homeland with little opportunity, Gates got out. The Second half of the book loses my attention and admittedly had a hard time finishing it. I still recommend the book the POV of Gates is wonderful and deserves a look. Quick read for the most part.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RROD3 More than 1 year ago
Book Review: Colored People Recently for my English class I read the novel Colored People by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I am 16 years old and I am a junior at Holt High School. I was just trying to find some book for silent reading when my English teacher suggested that I read this book. At first I was skeptical that it would be something I would be interested in, but as I read on I really enjoyed the book. Basically it is a memoir of his life from a child to a young adult, also with fast forwards to his present day life. It shows the struggles and triumphs that young black Americans had during the 1960s, 70s, and on. In his adolescent age he likes a girl, and as they grow older they see that they cannot be together because the society won't let them be together, he's black and she's white. The main characters are Henry, Mama, and Daddy. The memoir also includes many of Gates family members; uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. I recommend this book for a mature audience, as many young peoples/children wouldn't be interested enough to enjoy it. This is a very sophisticated book that is based on real life events. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was definitely the best book of this year that I have read, and most likely in the last couple of years also.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
Not as interesting as I anticipated. It had the same problems that "Snow in Havana" had. The author interjected adult rationale and logic onto childhood experiences. The teenage years were much more interesting because they seemed more real and natural. There wasn't the arrogance of an adult point of view once he started writing about his teenage years.