Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Blackby Gregory Howard Williams
A stunning journey to the heart of the racial dilemma in this country.See more details below
A stunning journey to the heart of the racial dilemma in this country.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyWilliams, dean of the Ohio State University College of Law, tells the affecting and absorbing story of his most unusual youth. Born to a white mother and a black father who passed for white, Williams was raised as white in Virginia until he was 10, when his mother left. His father brought his two sons back home to Muncie, Ind., in 1954 and sank further into drink. The two boys were eventually taken in by Miss Dora, a poor black widow. Williams's many anecdotes are a mixture of pain, struggle and triumph: learning ``hustles'' from Dad, receiving guidance from a friend's mother, facing racism from teachers and classmates, beginning a clandestine romance with a white girl he eventually married. And while his scarred, grandiloquent father was never reliable, he did instill in young Greg-though not in Greg's brother-sustaining dreams of professional success. Along the way the author decided, despite his appearance, he would proudly claim the black identity that white Muncie wouldn't let him forget. Williams ends his narrative when he reaches college; in the epilogue, he regrets that ``there were too many who were unable to break the mold Muncie cast.'' Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Feb.)
Library JournalWilliams's coming-of-age years were hard. His father was an alcoholic, and his mother left when Greg was still in grade school, not to be seen for more than a decade. His father soon lost his business, and the rest of the family set out from Virginia for Muncie, Indiana to be near relatives. To Greg's amazement, having lived his short life as white, his fair-skinned father's relatives were black. Facing a lifetime of choosing whether to be black or white and, whatever his decision, opprobrium from both races, Greg opted for black. Today he is dean of a respected law school, a man who in the 1950s Muncie of his youth might have been patronizingly called "a credit to his race." "A credit to the human race" is more like it. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/94.]-Jim Burns, Ottumwa, Ia.
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