counter create hit Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success

Availability: Ready to download

Carolyn Wilkins grew up defending her racial identity. Because of her light complexion and wavy hair, she spent years struggling to convince others that she was black. Her family’s prominence set Carolyn’s experiences even further apart from those of the average African American. Her father and uncle were well-known lawyers who had graduated from Harvard Law School. Anothe Carolyn Wilkins grew up defending her racial identity. Because of her light complexion and wavy hair, she spent years struggling to convince others that she was black. Her family’s prominence set Carolyn’s experiences even further apart from those of the average African American. Her father and uncle were well-known lawyers who had graduated from Harvard Law School. Another uncle had been a child prodigy and protégé of Albert Einstein. And her grandfather had been America's first black assistant secretary of labor. Carolyn's parents insisted she follow the color-conscious rituals of Chicago's elite black bourgeoisie—experiences Carolyn recalls as some of the most miserable of her entire life. Only in the company of her mischievous Aunt Marjory, a woman who refused to let the conventions of “proper” black society limit her, does Carolyn feel a true connection to her family's African American heritage. When Aunt Marjory passes away, Carolyn inherits ten bulging scrapbooks filled with family history and memories. What she finds in these photo albums inspires her to discover the truth about her ancestors—a quest that will eventually involve years of research, thousands of miles of travel, and much soul-searching. Carolyn learns that her great-grandfather John Bird Wilkins was born into slavery and went on to become a teacher, inventor, newspaperman, renegade Baptist minister, and a bigamist who abandoned five children. And when she discovers that her grandfather J. Ernest Wilkins may have been forced to resign from his labor department post by members of the Eisenhower administration, Carolyn must confront the bittersweet fruits of her family's generations-long quest for status and approval. Damn Near White is an insider’s portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn’s journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family’s powerful story.


Compare
Ads Banner

Carolyn Wilkins grew up defending her racial identity. Because of her light complexion and wavy hair, she spent years struggling to convince others that she was black. Her family’s prominence set Carolyn’s experiences even further apart from those of the average African American. Her father and uncle were well-known lawyers who had graduated from Harvard Law School. Anothe Carolyn Wilkins grew up defending her racial identity. Because of her light complexion and wavy hair, she spent years struggling to convince others that she was black. Her family’s prominence set Carolyn’s experiences even further apart from those of the average African American. Her father and uncle were well-known lawyers who had graduated from Harvard Law School. Another uncle had been a child prodigy and protégé of Albert Einstein. And her grandfather had been America's first black assistant secretary of labor. Carolyn's parents insisted she follow the color-conscious rituals of Chicago's elite black bourgeoisie—experiences Carolyn recalls as some of the most miserable of her entire life. Only in the company of her mischievous Aunt Marjory, a woman who refused to let the conventions of “proper” black society limit her, does Carolyn feel a true connection to her family's African American heritage. When Aunt Marjory passes away, Carolyn inherits ten bulging scrapbooks filled with family history and memories. What she finds in these photo albums inspires her to discover the truth about her ancestors—a quest that will eventually involve years of research, thousands of miles of travel, and much soul-searching. Carolyn learns that her great-grandfather John Bird Wilkins was born into slavery and went on to become a teacher, inventor, newspaperman, renegade Baptist minister, and a bigamist who abandoned five children. And when she discovers that her grandfather J. Ernest Wilkins may have been forced to resign from his labor department post by members of the Eisenhower administration, Carolyn must confront the bittersweet fruits of her family's generations-long quest for status and approval. Damn Near White is an insider’s portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn’s journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family’s powerful story.

50 review for Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marion Simmons

    Damn Near White is a wonderful piece of work. It does an excellent job of preserving Ms. Wilkins’ family history, the history of the communities where they lived, as well, as many little known US history facts about her grandfather’s work with the Labor Department and the Civil Rights Commission. I additional to sharing historical facts, Ms. Wilkins shares many stories about her research journey and her obsession with finding the answer to a genealogical mystery to which many family historians c Damn Near White is a wonderful piece of work. It does an excellent job of preserving Ms. Wilkins’ family history, the history of the communities where they lived, as well, as many little known US history facts about her grandfather’s work with the Labor Department and the Civil Rights Commission. I additional to sharing historical facts, Ms. Wilkins shares many stories about her research journey and her obsession with finding the answer to a genealogical mystery to which many family historians can relate. The book is thoroughly researched. It contains a wealth of endnotes and a very detailed bibliography. I often speak to genealogy groups on the importance of preserving local history. My goal is to encourage family historians to preserve the history of the communities where their families lived, worked or had an affiliation. Ms Wilkins’ work is a perfect example of what all family historians should do.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Renee Harrison

    This is a well written but sometimes confusing story of the author's family. For me the title was a bit misleading. I was expecting to read about the struggles of the author and the author's family due to their lighter complexion. While the book is about the author's family struggles it doesn't necessarily always have to do with thier complexion until she briefly discusses her experiences in college and her grandfather. Most of the book was dedicated to the the telling of the author researching This is a well written but sometimes confusing story of the author's family. For me the title was a bit misleading. I was expecting to read about the struggles of the author and the author's family due to their lighter complexion. While the book is about the author's family struggles it doesn't necessarily always have to do with thier complexion until she briefly discusses her experiences in college and her grandfather. Most of the book was dedicated to the the telling of the author researching her great-grandfather. Overall, it was still a good read and an interesting look into a family and their experiences.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir/ mystery/ history written by my childhood friend and neighbor about her famous grandfather and family. Catching up with an old friend, remembering her and her family, learning many things that I didn't know, both about her family and about our country, all in clear prose and vivid images - I highly recommend this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Abandoned. I didn't think this was going to be an account of how Wilkins conducted her research into her family. I thought it was going to be how color played a role in her family members individual lives. Disappointing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vanita Nemali

    Nice book, inspiring. When I whine about being different and sometimes being discriminated against, the black suffrage puts it all in perspective. Lot to learn from the constant strife.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Krekeler

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yamile

  8. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erica Zablackas berg

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bryan R.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Johnson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melinda Crews Kirkley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Budd

  14. 5 out of 5

    Judith Grace

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deeanna Manning

  17. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Bakan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kembee

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  21. 4 out of 5

    Normadene Murphy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Madifing Kaba

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  25. 5 out of 5

    L.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jocasta Johnson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maurice

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tania

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nichelle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  31. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  34. 4 out of 5

    TMA Library

  35. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  36. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

  37. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  38. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  39. 5 out of 5

    Terri Jordan

  40. 5 out of 5

    Dana

  41. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  42. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

  43. 5 out of 5

    Myrriam

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  45. 4 out of 5

    Cj

  46. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  47. 5 out of 5

    Margot

  48. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Morales

  49. 4 out of 5

    Anulkah Thomas

  50. 5 out of 5

    Lori Cotton

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.