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Say I'm Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love Kindle Edition
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When Johnson was born, social norms and her government-issued birth certificate said she was Negro, nullifying her mother's white blood in her identity. Later, as a Harvard-educated business executive feeling too far from her black roots, she searched her father's black genealogy. But in the process, Johnson suddenly realized that her mother's whole white family was—and always had been—missing. When she began to pry, her mother's 36-year-old secret spilled out. Her mother had simply vanished from Indiana, evading an FBI and police search that had ended with the conclusion that she had been the victim of foul play.
About the Author
Allyson Johnson began her entertainment career as an Emmy Award-winning child news anchor. A graduate of Brown University, she is a working actress, singer, and audiobook narrator. She currently resides in the New York City metropolitan area. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
“Say I’m Dead is not only a candid, compelling, and ultimately hopeful story of one woman’s quest to understand her family and herself through the lens of identity, it is also the story of an American identity riddled with secrets, lies, grievance, and thinly veiled shame. In telling her own alternately painful and exhilarating history, E. Dolores Johnson is subtly asking us all to turn the mirror on ourselves.” —Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
"Say I’m Dead is a beautiful and probing family history of a woman’s deep secret: she left behind her White family in 1940s Indiana to marry a Black man in New York. Decades before the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case overturned anti-miscegenation laws, Ella and Charles affirmed Du Bois’s prescient theory that the problem of the twentieth century was indeed the problem of the color line. Their mixed-race daughter lives on the color line, a Black woman who comes to question her White background. This compelling story with related themes of race, class, education, and history furthers the exigent discussions of biraciality in the United States."
—Dr. Donavan L. Ramon, Kentucky State University, author of Betraying Their Colored Descent: Psychoanalysis and Racial Passing
"During the 1940s, it was better to disappear or die than break anti-miscegenation laws. When Dolores wants to search for her White mother’s estranged family, 'Say I’m dead,' is what her mother tells Dolores to say should she find them. The prose is clear, sharp, and insightful, and the writer’s quest to find the truth about her family is as gripping as any mystery. Through one family’s story, the memoir explores the tragedy of how racism divides us and also how one family moves beyond fear and bias. A must-read memoir for readers interested in a daughter’s courageous search for her history, which is inextricably intertwined with the story of race in America." ―Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers, winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing in Nonfiction
"With unflinching honesty, E. Dolores Johnson shares an enthralling story of identity, independence, family, and love. This timely and beautifully written memoir ends on a complicated yet hopeful note, something we need in this time of racial strife." —De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills
"With protests since the killing of George Floyd pushing the issue of racial justice to the fore, this timely book tells a Buffalo story with powerful appeal." —The Buffalo News
“Say I'm Dead is a compelling tale about the legacy of racism in America, family and the power of love.”—WBUR’s The ARTery --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B07XSH73GK
- Publisher : Lawrence Hill Books (June 2, 2020)
- Publication date : June 2, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 9556 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 230 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #612,135 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020
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Then E. Dolores paints the picture of growing up biracial and having situations where people mistake her for being white and speak with open disgust about Black people in front of her. The isolation of growing up in a family that predates the legality of interracial marriage is a huge burden to carry but she overcomes it anyway and thrives despite it all. It really opened my eyes to the experience of multiracial children and adults and the many challenges and frustrations they face in having to constantly explain or defend their identities, or be forced to choose a side.
I enthusiastically recommend this book, it gives a very personal take on the lived experience of racism in America and how love can be the strength one needs to overcome any obstacle or challenge.