Monday, July 17, 2006

Too Dark to Pass

I just finished the book, Secret Daughter: A Mixed Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away by June Cross (May 2006). It was a fascinating memoir written by a woman who was too dark to pass, so her White mother gave her to a Black couple to raise. She didn't walk away though. She stayed in her daughter's life, but acknowledged her only as a niece, an adopted daughter or a friend!

The book went so far beyond the tragic mulatto stories that seem to dominate the memoirs by mixed Americans. What makes the book so fascinating and unique is that Cross, an award winning journalist, doesn't use the book to simply review her own bittersweet past, but she also digs deep into the pasts of both her White mother and Black father to discover their own inner lives and why they made the choices they did regarding their "mixed-race" daughter. The book goes beyond the personal and delves into the politics of race, class and passing without losing the emotional and engaging tone of memoir. What's more, both sides of Cross's family tree are full of famous faces from Hollywood, Broadway and the so-called historical "Negro elite."

Check it out if you get a chance. And FYI, there's a movie version too!

Peace Out.


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Heidi Durrow said...

i saw the documentary when it first aired. it was incredibly powerful and moving. as a biracial (African-American/Danish) woman, i am writing about similar issues. glad to learn that the story is now a book -- i will have to pick it up.