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21 Local Warehouse African American Studies- General

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother


The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother Cover




For years I kept my family life a secret from Jane. She knew that I came from a Panther background , but she knew nothing of my motherandrsquo;s drinking, my shrinking family. When I was thirteen that finally changed. The first person I told my full story to was one of my camp counselors. The camp counselor told Jane. Jane asked me if what she heard was true, and for the first time I opened up to her about everything that was going on back in Oakland. and#160;Soon after telling her this, Jane invited me to come live with her year-round in Santa Monica. I did not ask my momandrsquo;s permission. I just left. It was a normal thing in my family to be here one day and gone the next. From my small, run-down house in Oakland, I moved to Janeandrsquo;s hacienda surrounded by flower gardens and avocado trees. Landing on the moon would have been less disorienting. She sat me down soon after I arrived and said, andldquo;I see you as my daughter now. If you want, you can call me Mom.andrdquo; I also had new siblings, a brother named Troy, and two sisters, Vanessa and Nathalie. Jane became my greatest friend, my cheerleader, and a dedicated mother. Despite being a busy actress and activist, Jane was home most nights and often cooked dinner for us. Everything was new. Even something as seemingly simple as dinnertime was fraught. I had to prepare myself each night for my confrontation with andldquo;white people foodandrdquo;andmdash;some of it good (baked Alaska), some not so good (artichokes). And I was shocked to learn that people could disagree or dislike one another and still be civil.

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guitargirl1590, September 24, 2006 (view all comments by guitargirl1590)
i thought it was a good book in general but some of the parts repeated themselves quite a bit and i felt like some of the information was a bit redundant but overall it was a terrific book.
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Product Details

A Memoir
McBride, James
Williams, Mary
Blue Rider Press
New York :
People of Color
United States - State & Local
New york (n.y.)
Family/Interpersonal Memoir
Jewish women
Children of interracial marriage
Interracial marriage
New York (N.Y.) Biography.
Mulattoes -- New York (State) -- New York -- Race identity.
Personal Memoirs
United States - State & Local - General
Discrimination & Race Relations
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
1 8-page color insert and 1 8-page bandw
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573225786 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A daughter of the Black Panther movement tells her remarkable life story of being raised amid violence and near-poverty, adopted as a teenager by Jane Fonda, and finding her way back home.


As she grew up in 1970s Oakland, California, role models for Mary Williams were few and far between: her father was often in prison, her older sister was a teenage prostitute, and her hot-tempered mother struggled to raise six children alone. When Mary was thirteen, a silver lining appeared in her life: she was invited to spend a summer at Laurel Springs Childrenand#8217;s Camp, run by Jane Fonda and her then husband, Tom Hayden. Mary flourished at camp, and over the course of several summers, she began confiding in Fonda about her difficulties at home. During one school year, Mary suffered a nightmare assault crime, which she kept secret until she told a camp counselor and Fonda. After providing care and therapy for Mary, Fonda invited her to come live with her family.


Practically overnight, Mary left the streets of Oakland for the star-studded climes of Santa Monica. Jane Fonda was the parent Mary had never hadand#151;outside the limelight and Hollywood parties, Fonda was a wonderful mom who helped with homework, listened to adolescent fears, celebrated achievements, and offered inspiration and encouragement at every turn.


Maryand#8217;s life since has been one of adventure and opportunityand#151;from hiking the Appalachian Trail solo, working with the Lost Boys of Sudan, and living in the frozen reaches of Antarctica. Her most courageous trip, though, involved returning to Oakland and reconnecting with her biological mother and family, many of whom she hadnand#8217;t seen since the day she left home. The Lost Daughter is a chronicle of her journey back in time, an exploration of fractured family bonds, and a moving epic of self-discovery.

"Synopsis" by ,
Mary Williams was born to Black Panther parents and grew up in Oakland, California, in the 70sandmdash;a vivid childhood during a time of immense political and cultural upheaval, though hardly idyllic. Her father was often absent or in prison, an older sister succumbed to prostitution and teenage pregnancy, and her mother struggled with alcoholism. For all she knew, Mary was headed down the same path.

But all of that changed when she met Jane Fonda at a summer camp run by Fonda and her husband Tom Hayden in 1978. Jane took notice of the bright young girl, and invited Mary to come and live with herandmdash;and overnight, at age thirteen, Mary left impoverished Oakland for star-studded Santa Monica. Jane was the mother sheandrsquo;d never had: one who imposed curfews and bedtimes, helped with homework, and insisted on family dinners every night. With her adoptive motherandrsquo;s encouragement, Mary spent the next three decades traveling the world: she worked with the Lost Boys of the Sudan, hiked the Appalachian Trail (solo), and spent months living in Antarctica. But her greatest adventure has been the trip back home, to reconnect with her biological familyandmdash;from Oakland to Hollywood to Africa with many stops along the way, The Lost Daughter is the story of one womanandrsquo;s remarkable homecoming.

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