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Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His…

Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (original 1996; edition 1998)

by James McBride

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4,079851,245 (3.94)99
Title:Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
Authors:James McBride
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1998), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:non fiction, memoir, family, slum life, Judaism, racial issues, (2012 reads)

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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride (1996)

  1. 00
    Off-White: a memoir by Laurie Gunst (Manthepark)
    Manthepark: An interesting coming-of-age story of a Jewish girl’s connections with the African-American and white communities in Richmond, Virginia, and how those connections carried forward into her adult life.

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English (83)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (85)
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3 in ILL, none in CC. Interestingly, it's variously shelved in the libraries as fiction, non-fiction, and biography....
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
interesting and well written, but not particularly enlightening or earthshaking. ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
You can feel the love and respect for his mother through the words he chooses to tell her story. A recent facebook question asked what fictional or non fictional family's house would you like to visit. I'd have to say the McBride house. ( )
  SkiKatt68 | Feb 26, 2016 |
In the course of her lifetime, a Jewish woman whose father was an Orthodox rabbi, moves to New York, marries two black men, and bears 12 children, all of whom go on to complete college and in several cases, get advanced degrees. An amazing story of Ruth’s life with an abusive father; a meek, disabled mother, and the prejudice she endured from both blacks and whites, and how she embraced the African-American culture.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
McBride and his eleven siblings knew their mother was a free-thinking, intensely private, strong-willed woman, who demanded excellence from her brood. She was disorganized and overwhelmed, but they knew she loved them. She believed firmly in Jesus Christ and insisted they all attend church each Sunday. She also insisted that they attend the best possible public schools … which meant the Jewish public schools where they were frequently the only Blacks in attendance. They lived for most of their youth in Brooklyn’s Red Hook projects. Certainly they knew their mother wasn’t like the other kids’s mothers; but when they asked, she would simply say, “I’m light-skinned.” When James asked if he was black or white his mother’s curt response was, “You’re a human being. Educate yourself or you’ll be a nobody!” When he asked what color God was, his mother answered, “He’s the color of water.”

But eventually, and after repeated pleas, James convinced his mother to tell the story that he and his siblings never knew – or even suspected. She was not only white, but Jewish – the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi.

The book is told in alternating chapters – Ruth’s story, and James’s story. McBride doesn’t hold back in this memoir of “A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” He clearly outlines the missteps and tragedies, as well as the joy and success of his extended family.

It is emotional and heartfelt, tender and raw, full of the personal issues of race, religion and identity, as well as the societal issues of race and religion. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 25, 2016 |
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I wrote this book for my mother, and her mother, and mothers everywhere.
In memory of Hudis Shilsky, Rev. Andrew D. McBride, and Hunter L. Jordan, Sr.
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As a boy, I never knew where my mother was from -- where she was born, who her parents were.
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Book description
About a black man who has a white mother and a complex with issues of race, religion, and identity.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 159448192X, Paperback)

Order this book ... and please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:27 -0400)

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An African American man describes life as the son of a white mother and Black father, reflecting on his mother's contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.

(summary from another edition)

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