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They called him “pale faced or mixed race.” They called him “light, bright, almost white.” But most of the time his family called him “high yella.” Steve Majors was the white passing, youngest son growing up in an all-Black family that struggled with poverty, abuse, and generational trauma. High Yella is the poignant account of how he tried to leave his troubled childhood and family behind to create a new identity, only to discover he ultimately needed to return home to truly find himself. And after he and his husband adopt two Black daughters, he must set them on their own path to finding their place in the world by understanding the importance of where they come from.
In his remarkable and moving memoir, Majors gathers the shards of a broken past to piece together a portrait of a man on an extraordinary journey toward Blackness, queerness, and parenthood. High Yella delivers its hard-won lessons on love, life, and family with exceptional grace.
STEVE MAJORS is a former television news journalist who worked for media organizations such as NBC News and most recently for mission-driven national nonprofits. His essays on race, culture, and identity have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets. Currently he serves as vice president of marketing for a national education nonprofit serving marginalized students. He lives in suburban Maryland with his family.