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

3.54 avg rating
( 24 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780826218995: Damn Near White: An African American Family's Rise from Slavery to Bittersweet Success

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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Carolyn Marie Wilkins is a Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She has toured South America as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, performed on radio and television with her group SpiritJazz, and worked as a percussionist for the Pittsburgh and Singapore symphonies. She has released four critically acclaimed CDs of her original compositions and is the author of Tips for Singers: Performing, Auditioning, and Rehearsing.

From Booklist:

Wilkins, a jazz musician and scholar, grew up in a very accomplished family so light-skinned that many could—and some did—cross the color line. Her grandfather was J. Ernest Wilkins, the nation’s first black cabinet member, likely forced from his position as labor secretary during the Eisenhower administration because of his race. Following the death of her aunt Marjory, the family’s colorful and unofficial history keeper, Wilkins found herself curious about the details of her family’s life astride the color line and went in search of details. She found a great-grandfather, John Bird Wilkins, born into slavery, who became a teacher, inventor, radical Baptist minister, and bigamist. On her mother’s side, she traced the family back to a slave from Madagascar. This is more than a history of black firsts; it is also a woman’s long, arduous process of discovering long-buried secrets and how her family of achievers chose whether or how to defy racial and social conventions and how she herself fits into that legacy. A fascinating look at the complexities of race, class, and caste from the perspective of one family’s history. --Vanessa Bush

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Wilkins, Carolyn Marie
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Quantity Available: 9
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2010. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # TX-9780826218995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 14.33
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Chicago press
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Chicago press. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0826218997

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 18.34
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Missouri Press, United States (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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 protege 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. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780826218995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.83
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Wilkins, Carolyn M
Published by Univ of Missouri Press
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Univ of Missouri Press. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Bookseller Inventory # 2199299

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 26.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Missouri Press, United States (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 protege 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780826218995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 31.53
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Missouri Press, United States (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri Press, United States, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 protege 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780826218995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.32
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Missouri (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0826218997

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 33.79
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Published by University of Missouri (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 3. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0826218997

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 30.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Wilkins, Carolyn Marie
Published by University of Missouri Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Missouri Press, 2010. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # CE-9780826218995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 26.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Wilkins, Carolyn Marie
Published by Univ of Missouri Pr (2010)
ISBN 10: 0826218997 ISBN 13: 9780826218995
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Univ of Missouri Pr, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition edition. 192 pages. 9.75x6.25x0.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0826218997

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 38.33
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book