BOOK REVIEW: Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black

Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black

Absorbing and affecting, Life on the Color Line is an excellent memoir of the author’s experience growing up in the segregated South. Born to a white mother and a black father who “passed” as Italian, Williams had no idea of his heritage until his parents divorced and lost their lucrative business. When his father moved Williams and one of his brothers in with African-American relatives, he realized his true heritage.

Williams’ father, with his larger-than-life presence, would be plenty of fodder for a book in itself. But it’s the frightening backdrop of a divided, racist small town that really brings the emotion to this book.

We are at a time when many idealize the world of the 1940s and ‘50s and advocate a return to “simpler values.” Those who espouse such sentiments would do well to read this book. This era was not as appealing as it seems when armchair politicians fondly reminisce. There may not have been curse words on TV, but there was terrible cruelty and injustice in the streets and in our institutions.

(review originally appeared at goodreads.com)

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