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Black & White & Red All Over

Black & White & Red All Over

5.0 1
by Martha McNeil Hamilton, Warren Brown
Warren Brown grew up in segregated New Orleans-black, Catholic, middle class. Martha McNeil was from segregated white and blue-collar Houston. It was the 1960s and integration was becoming the law of the land, but it wasn't the reality for either of them.

Both Warren and Martha were "affirmative action hires" at The Washington Post in the early 1970s and


Warren Brown grew up in segregated New Orleans-black, Catholic, middle class. Martha McNeil was from segregated white and blue-collar Houston. It was the 1960s and integration was becoming the law of the land, but it wasn't the reality for either of them.

Both Warren and Martha were "affirmative action hires" at The Washington Post in the early 1970s and worked together for more than twenty years, sharing the ups and downs of life, becoming friends. Then Warren became sick with kidney disease. A kidney donated to him by his wife failed. He was on the verge of death when Martha, informed she was also a blood type match, donated a kidney to her friend.

Warren and Martha chronicled their experiences surrounding the surgery in a series of articles written for the Post. To them, it was a simple story of friendship, a successful operation, and a happy ending. But in the extraordinary outpouring of favorable reaction to their story, especially among blacks, they discovered that it was something more: it was a success story about integration.

Now, in a new book, the friends tell the whole story: of their childhoods in the segregated South, of their meeting and deepening friendship, of Warren's brush with death and Martha's decision to help save his life. Intimate, poignant, and laced with humor, Black & White & Red All Over chronicles the miraculous intersection of two lives that, but for the changes in American society of the last half-century, would never have occurred.

About the Author:

Martha McNeil Hamilton is a financial news reporter for The Washington Post. She lives in Washington, D.C. Warren Brown is the automotive columnist for The Washington Post and www.washingtonpost.com, the news-paper's online news service. His "On Wheels" column is carried in 167 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press, and New York Post. Brown lives and works with his wife, Mary Anne Reed-Brown, in Arlington, Va.

Editorial Reviews

Houston Chronicle
[Hamilton and Brown] are good reporters. They tell a good story. They also show us the generosity we're capable of.
Publishers Weekly
This profound, earnest and heartfelt book by two Washington Post reporters chronicles two vastly different lives through several memorable decades of American history. Hamilton, a white woman born in blue-collar Houston, and Brown, a black man of segregated New Orleans, explain with well-chosen vignettes how their childhood and young adult experiences laid the groundwork for their unusual pairing as committed friends both in the newsroom and in their private lives. Their individual stories of how they came to be journalists and pioneering hires under the then new affirmative action program are instructive and inspiring, as are their tales of how they struggled against an old boys' network and a glass ceiling. When life's low points, such as the severe mental collapse of Hamilton's daughter and a subsequent divorce, suddenly derail Hamilton's life, Brown remains a steadfast friend and shepherds her from depression to activity. That loyalty is not forgotten when Brown battles an ongoing bout of hypertension and organ failure, which results in a failed attempt to use his wife's transplanted kidney. Told in alternating chapters, Hamilton and Brown map out the terrifying ordeal of transplant surgery, concentrating on their feelings, actions and fears, the concerns of their families and the dangers of the operation. This remarkable book could have descended into shallow theatrics, but its willingness to display both the flaws and strengths of both principals lifts it above the ordinary with its candid tribute to courage and friendship. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The personal account of an interracial kidney transplant told compassionately and with humor by two Washington Post journalists, this book educates the reader on race and sex discrimination over several generations. The story is told in alternating chapters by each writer, one a black man and the other a white woman. Their paths converge in a close friendship with (white) editor Frank Swoboda in the fiercely competitive Post newsroom. Hamilton comes to the aid of her friend, Brown, when he succumbs to "Blackman's Disease," or end-stage renal disease, which destroys his kidney. The authors show how the sometimes-indiscriminate prescription of immunosuppressant drugs to blacks can compromise transplants and how ethnic self-identification rather than genetic testing wrongly determines drug therapy in kidney disease. This book, which began as a series of articles for the Post, is a joy to read, bringing home the palpable connection of the two authors. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Paula N. Arnold, M.L.S., Brighton, MA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-From the beginning, Brown and Hamilton, business department reporters for the Washington Post, had at least two things in common. Both were hired under affirmative action-she, a white woman and he, a black man, and both had grown up during the '60s in Southern communities that actively resisted the new civil rights movement. Their relationship at the newspaper was tentative at first but evolved into mutual respect and friendship. Along with other Post colleagues, Hamilton watched with concern as Brown's kidney disease worsened and dialysis became more difficult. A successful transplant from his wife was the occasion for short-lived rejoicing. When the tragic rejection of the organ occurred, Hamilton didn't hesitate to offer to donate one of her healthy kidneys to her friend. The authors write with candor and affectionate humor about their lives and careers. Teens will learn about the changing social climate of the 1960s and '70s, future journalists will be intrigued to learn of the workings of a big-city newspaper, and most readers will find the account of the frustrations and dangers of kidney transplant compelling and suspenseful. While this is a story about discrimination and the changing roles of African Americans and women, it is, more importantly, about friendship.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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5.32(w) x 7.56(h) x 1.06(d)

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Black & White & Red All Over 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black and White and Red All Over, by Martha Hamilton and Warren Brown, two Washington Post veterans, is a rare and special read. The story, told in alternating voices, tells the story of two journalists, brought to the Washington Post through its affirmative action policies, who over time developed an intense and enduring friendship....one that eventually would result in one friend extending the life of the other in a life saving kidney transplant. There is something for everyone in this short, accessible memoir, whether you're interested in memoir generally, need comfort prior to an organ transplant, are thinking about donating an organ to someone, or are simply interested in race relations and social progress in the United States. The memoir provides evidence of the virtue of integration. Warren's life might have been cut short were it not for the fact that he lived in a time where it was acceptable for a white woman to donate an organ to a black man. His life might have been cut short were it not for a beautiful friendship which lacked the prejudice and hatred that otherwise might have marked such a relationship thirty years ago. The memoir is a celebration of love and hope and all that is right with this world. I highly recommend it, for its inspiring, heartfelt story, the terrific compelling, often humourous writing and for the rare opportunity to really truly understand friendship and love in all of its dimensions. This is a great one for the holidays.