Crossings: A White Man's Journey into Black America / Edition 1

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One day in the dentist's office journalist Walt Harrington heard a casual racist joke that left him enraged. Married to a black woman, Harrington is the father of two biracial children. His experience in the dentist's office made him realize not only that the joke was about his own children but also that he really knew very little about what it was like to be a black person in America.

After this rude awakening, Harrington set off on a twenty- five-thousand-mile journey through black America, talking with scores of black and white people along the way, including an old sharecropper, a city police chief, a jazz trumpeter, a convicted murderer, a welfare mother, and a corporate mogul. In Crossings, winner of the Gustavus Myers Award for the Study of Human Rights, he relates what he learned as he listened.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Honest and devoid of flackery . . . so different from what we're used to reading about blacks that it seems almost subversive."—Atlantic

"A message in a bottle floated out to white America about black America's remarkable diversity and resilience."—New York Newsday

"Vivid. . . . a fascinating and enlightening montage for blacks and whites alike."—People

Magisterial. . . . An engrossing, multilayered portrait"as well as a touching personal odyssey."—Kirkus Reviews

"While Harrington wrote this book for white, middle-class American readers, blacks will enjoy his vignettes as well. [He] records voices from tomorrow's black history taking place today, voices that otherwise might have been overlooked." —Black Enterprise

"Candid and rich. . . . Harrington remains a good companion, in part because he's wonderfully frank."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Mr. Harrington . . . brings a keen reportorial eye and a graceful writing style to his immense project."—New York Times Book Review

"Mr. Harrington . . . is gifted with an unintrusive style that permits his subjects to speak freely. Some of them share with him perceptions that they have been nurturing nearly all their lives."—Washington Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826212597
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Black America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 466
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

An award-winning journalist and former staff writer for the Washington Post Magazine, Walt Harrington is currently Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of At the Heart of It: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives and American Profiles: Somebodies and Nobodies Who Matter.

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