2004 Archive

"The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother" by James McBride
About the Book
Written and researched over a period of 14 years, "The Color of Water" recounts McBride’s childhood, growing up as a black kid with a white, Jewish mother. His mother, Ruth McBride, was born in Poland and raised in Suffolk, VA, the daughter of an itinerant Orthodox Jewish Rabbi. At 17, Ruth fled the South to Harlem, married a black man in 1941, founded a church, was widowed twice, and raised 12 children. Despite hardship, poverty and suffering, Ruth instilled in them an appreciation for the value of education and sent all 12 to college. This memoir is a beautifully crafted tale of self-identity, education and family.

About the Author
James McBride is an award-winning writer, composer and saxophonist. He is a former staff writer for The Boston Globe, People Magazine and The Washington Post. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times and Rolling Stone. He is the recipient of the 1997 Anisfield Wolf Book Award as well as several awards for his work as a composer in musical theatre, including the American Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award, The ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award and the American Music Theatre Festival's Stephen Sondheim Award.

He has written songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., Gary Burton, Silver Burdett Music Textbooks and for the PBS television character "Barney," and fronts a six-piece R&B jazz band. James is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York City public schools, studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.