|About the Book
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother originated as a 1982 Mother's Day piece for The Boston Globe. Positive
response to the newspaper story persuaded McBride to work on a book. Riverhead
Books published the hardcover edition in 1996. The trade paper edition,
published in February 1998, was on The New York Times bestseller list
for over two years.
The object of McBride's constant embarrassment, and his continuous fear for her
safety, Ruth McBride Jordan was an inspiring figure, who through sheer force of
will saw her dozen children through college. McBride was an adult before he
discovered the truth about his mother: the daughter of a failed itinerant
Orthodox rabbi in rural Virginia, she ran away to Harlem, married a black man,
and founded an all-black Baptist church in her living room in Red Hook. From
the time of her marriage, she did not acknowledge she was white.
In this remarkable memoir, McBride's mother tells in her own words the story of
her past. Around her narrative, James McBride has written a powerful portrait
of growing up, a meditation on race and identity, and a poignant, beautifully
crafted hymn from a son to his mother.
|"God doesn’t have a color. God is the color of water."
- The Color of Water
From Reviews of The Color of Water
"This moving and unforgettable memoir needs to be read by people of all colors
- Publishers Weekly
"The Color of Water [will] make you proud to be a member of the human race."
"As lively as a novel, a well-written, thoughtful contribution to the
literature on race."
- The Washington Post Book World
"A lyrical, deeply moving tribute... The Color of Water is about the love that
a mother has for her children."
- The Detroit News
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