The Color of Water: A Black man’s tribute to his White mother

This is a book that will “make you proud to be a member of the human race,” says Mirabella, and countless readers have already discovered its power. Written in remembrance of his Polish-born, Southern-raised Jewish mother, The Color of Water is a classic of the memoir genre, a testament to love, and a truly American story.

As a boy in Brooklyn’s Red Hook projects, James McBride knew his mother was different. But when he asked about it, she’d simply say, “I’m light-skinned.” Later he wondered if he was different too, and asked his mother if he was black or white. “You’re a human being,” she snapped. “Educated yourself or you’ll be a nobody!” And when James asked what color God was, she said, “God is the color of water”…As an adult, McBride finally persuaded his mother to tell her story the story of a rabbi’s daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a Baptist church, and put twelve children through college. The Color of Water is James McBride’s tribute to his remarkable, eccentric, determined mother and an eloquent exploration of what family really means.

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