Scholarly perspectives on the mixed race experience.
In conclusion, then, mulattoes may be viewed as the apotheosis, or as the nadir, of Afro-American strength—as the hope or despair of the future. In this regard, these recent studies often differ profoundly. However, they do demonstrate significant points of agreement regarding the historical roots and role of Americans of mixed black-white ancestry—regarding their growing predominance within Afro-America itself, and regarding the very early origins of their distinctiveness. Under certain historical circumstances, their distinctiveness from black Americans was viewed and treated as an asset; under different circumstances it became a liability, particularly when and where white supremacy was threatened. During the Jim Crow era the one-drop ideology was used as a weapon to put them back in place—to prevent the growth of this “mongrelized race” which was neither white nor black. But ironically, it was this oppression which drove mulattoes to identify themselves with black Americans, thereby strengthening Afro-American solidarity and self-assertion...
Hannah Lowe’s father “Chick”, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family – except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning during the daylight hours to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted.
In this poignant memoir, Lowe calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick. She also evokes her father’s Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain.
Long Time No See speaks eloquently of love and its absence, regret and compassion, and the struggle to know oneself.
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Raymond Barfield, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina
How can a 19-year-old, mixed-race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant be so innocent? Yslea is full of contradictions, though, seeming both young and old, innocent and wise. Her spirit is surprising, given all the pain she has endured, and that’s the counterpoint this story offers—while she sees pain and suffering all around her, Yslea overcomes in her own quiet way.
What Yslea struggles with is expressing her thoughts. And she wonders if she will have something of substance to say to her baby. It’s the baby growing inside her that begins to wake her up, that causes her to start thinking about things in a different way.
Yslea drifts into the lives of four people who occupy three dilapidated row houses along the train tracks outside of Memphis: “The way their three little row houses sort of leaned in toward each other and the way the paint peeled and some of the windows were covered with cardboard, the row might as easily have been empty.”
She becomes an integral part of this little community, moving in with Rose who is old and dying. As her pregnancy progresses, everything changes within the three houses.
“In 1960 my father got into a rowboat from Havana, Cuba and rowed 90 miles to the United States to start his new life. By the time I got into seventh grade, I was telling my friends that my father saved all of his family, all of his friends, piled everyone into that boat and rowed everybody over to America. By the time I got into high school, I was telling my friends that my father stole five boats from Castro’s navy, saved all of his friends, all of his family, all of his first, second, third, fourth, and fifth cousins, everyone on his block, all of the pets, and everybody on his baseball team. He piled them into the boat. There was no room for him in the boat, so he tied those boats together with a big rope, put that rope around his shoulders and he swam everybody over to the United States. . .”
Born in Boston to a Cuban father and an Irish-American mother, Antonio Sacre is one of the few leprecanos on the national speaking circuit. Using his own personal history and telling the stories that audiences across the nation have found so captivating and wonderful, this award-winning storyteller and author weaves the Spanish language, Cuban and Mexican customs, and Irish humor into an unforgettable book of humor, inspiration, tradition, and family.
My Name is Cool is a classic story sure to transcend, like the author himself, cultures and boundaries.
A pioneering, dazzling satire about a biracial black girl from Philadelphia searching for her Jewish father in New York City
Oreo is raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note that triggers her quest to find him. What ensues is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb. Oreo, our young hero, navigates the labyrinth of sound studios and brothels and subway tunnels in Manhattan, seeking to claim her birthright while unwittingly experiencing and triggering a mythic journey of self-discovery like no other.
In this picture book bursting with vibrance and rhythm, a girl dreams of playing the drums in 1930s Cuba, when the music-filled island had a taboo against female drummers.
Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.
Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
A sharply observed, mordantly funny, and startlingly original novel from an exciting, unconventional new voice—the author of the acclaimed The Wallcreeper—about the making and unmaking of the American family that lays bare all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire.
Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an ingénue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start—she’s a lesbian, he’s gay—but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind.
Worried that Lee will have her committed for her erratic behavior, Peggy goes underground, adopting an African American persona for her and her daughter. They squat in a house in an African-American settlement, eventually moving to a housing project where no one questions their true racial identities. As Peggy and Lee’s children grow up, they must contend with diverse emotional issues: Byrdie deals with his father’s compulsive honesty; while Karen struggles with her mother’s lies—she knows neither her real age, nor that she is “white,” nor that she has any other family.
Years later, a minority scholarship lands Karen at the University of Virginia, where Byrdie is in his senior year. Eventually the long lost siblings will meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings and culminating in a comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.
Young adult literary fiction for teens struggling with racial and cultural identity and racism.
The thing about secrets is they force you to choose—especially the ones that hurt so much you keep them from your best friend. Ava Ling Magee hopes college will free her from the past: high school, parents, everything. Freedom from her Asian mother’s control, her Caucasian father’s neglect, and the world’s confusion, however, requires more than a dorm room. Sure, she makes new friends, separates herself from the parental units, and parties. Yet, Ava’s secrets linger, binding her to the past and cleaving her in two. She must choose between the darkness she knows and unknown perils. Sometimes, when life hurts the most, we discover our freedom lay within all along.
“In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father’s house.”
Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comics shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures outside in the grass. When he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: In the face of a teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl, Tal, is his daughter, and she’s been raised to think she’s white.
Spinning from these revelations, Warren sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter he’s never known, in a haunted house with a history he knows too well. In their search for a new life, he and Tal struggle with ghosts, fall in with a utopian mixed-race cult, and ignite a riot on Loving Day, the unsung holiday for interracial lovers.
A frequently hilarious, surprisingly moving story about blacks and whites, fathers and daughters, the living and the dead, Loving Day celebrates the wonders of opposites bound in love.
From the massively talented Gish Jen comes a barbed, moving, and stylistically dazzling new novel about the elusive nature of kinship. The Wongs describe themselves as a “half half” family, but the actual fractions are more complicated, given Carnegie’s Chinese heritage, his wife Blondie’s WASP background, and the various ethnic permutations of their adopted and biological children. Into this new American family comes a volatile new member. Her name is Lanlan. She is Carnegie’s Mainland Chinese relative, a tough, surprisingly lovely survivor of the Cultural Revolution, who comes courtesy of Carnegie’s mother’s will. Is Lanlan a very good nanny, a heartless climber, or a posthumous gift from a formidable mother who never stopped wanting her son to marry a nice Chinese girl? Rich in insight, buoyed by humor, The Love Wife is a hugely satisfying work.
The moment just before Radar Radmanovic is born, all of the hospital’s electricity mysteriously fails. The delivery takes place in total darkness. Lights back on, the staff sees a healthy baby boy—with pitch-black skin—born to the stunned white parents. No one understands the uncanny electrical event or the unexpected skin color. “A childbirth is an explosion,” the ancient physician says by way of explanation. “Some shrapnel is inevitable, isn’t it?”
A kaleidoscopic novel both heartbreaking and dazzling, Reif Larsen’s I Am Radar begins with Radar’s perplexing birth but rapidly explodes outward, carrying readers across the globe and throughout history, as well as to unknown regions where radio waves and subatomic particles dance to their own design. Spanning this extraordinary range with grace and empathy, humor and courage, I Am Radar is the vessel where a century of conflict and art unite in a mesmerizing narrative whole.
Deep in arctic Norway, a cadre of Norwegian schoolteachers is imprisoned during the Second World War. Founding a radical secret society that will hover on the margins of recorded history for decades to come, these schoolteachers steal radioactive material from a hidden Nazi nuclear reactor and use it to stage a surreal art performance on a frozen coastline. This strange society appears again in the aftermath of Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge regime, when another secret performance takes place but goes horrifically wrong. Echoes of this disaster can be heard during the Yugoslavian wars, when an avant-garde puppeteer finds himself trapped inside Belgrade while his brother serves in the genocidal militia that attacks Srebrenica. Decades later, in the war-torn Congo, a disfigured literature professor assembles the largest library in the world even as the country around him collapses. All of these stories are linked by Radar—now a gifted radio operator living in the New Jersey Meadowlands—who struggles with love, a set of hapless parents, and a terrible medical affliction that he has only just begun to comprehend
As I Am Radar accelerates toward its unforgettable conclusion, these divergent strands slowly begin to converge, revealing that beneath our apparent differences, unseen harmonies secretly unite our lives. Drawing on the furthest reaches of quantum physics, forgotten history, and mind-bending art, Larsen’s I Am Radar is a triumph of storytelling at its most primal, elegant, and epic: a breathtaking journey through humanity’s darkest hours only to arrive at a place of shocking wonder and redemption.