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Tag Archives: 1997

The Incredible Staying Power Of James McBride’s “The Color of Water”

by Gail Arnoff, adjunct professor, John Carroll University  The first time I read The Color of Water, I was deep in the woods of Otter Creek, a lovely wilderness in West Virginia. In my hammock strung between two trees, with the musical creek flowing just below our campsite, I began to read. From the first page I was fascinated by the story of James McBride and his mother, Ruth Jordan McBride. I didn't climb out of the hammock until hours later, when I'd finished the book. That summer I was planning a seminar, “Questions of Identity,” for Case Western Reserve University and was looking for pertinent memoirs. I knew immediately that The Color of Water would make the reading list.   In the past eight years I have introduced McBride and his mother to more than 135 students. The... Read More →

VIDEO: Walter Mosley Explains His Writing Regimen, Career Struggles, And Why “There No Such Thing As White People”

Writer and radio host Michael Eric Dyson posed a simple question to Walter Mosley midway through their Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture forum:"Do black people have the freedom to be individuals in America?"  Mosley, 62, paused to acknowledge the gravity of the question. "I would not give up being black in America," he responded. "We are America. We got the culture, we got the music, we got the art -- and we don't really know it."  Mosley, best known for his "Easy Rawlins" detective series, now 10 books deep, has enjoyed a successful and sustained career.  He was born in California to a Jewish mother and a black father (the pair was denied a marriage license in 1951.)  Their only child, who has lived in New York City since 1981, identifies with both sides of his... Read More →

James McBride Delivers Soul-Stirring Renditions Of Gospel Favorites During “Good Lord Bird” Tour

Few writers have made the kind of spectacular, multimedia splash onto the literary scene the way James McBride has. McBride, 56, first attracted attention in 1996, for his memoir, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. It sat atop the New York Times bestsellers list for two years, selling more than two million copies and winning an Anisfield-Wolf award for nonfiction. His first novel, 2002's The Miracle of St. Anna, enjoyed a movie adaptation from director Spike Lee, for which McBride adapted the screenplay. But Song Yet Sung received a quieter reception in 2008. "Only eight people read it, and I have 11 brothers and sisters so that's saying something," he quipped at his recent appearance at the Hudson Library & Historical Society in Ohio. It's safe to say... Read More →

“Most Of What I Do Fails”: Honest Observations From James McBride

It's almost hard to believe 1997 Anisfield-Wolf winner James McBride when he talks about his failures. His 2002 novel, Miracle at St. Anna, was turned into a movie Spike Lee a few years later and his debut, The Color of Water, was on the New York Times bestseller's list for two years. But in this deeply personal and highly observant video, McBride shows us the true honesty that keeps readers coming back again and again. Read More →
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