"...Although 'Black' is shown on my birth certificate, I don't wear the color well, so I will continue to write 'human' in the space allotted for race."

When her grandson asked her if she had any fun being a slave, Blocker realized it was time for her to examine the realities underlying her status as a black American female of the modern era. She began collecting historical data relating to her background and all members of her extended African family, the result being this remarkable tribute grounded in America's continuing racial struggles.

In the initial stages of the slave trade, there were accounts of horrifically mistreated, shackled, and tortured victims taking the initiative to mutiny, some successfully, against their white captors. This spirit continued to arise in successive years of blacks' maltreatment in the nation. They had music as a continual underpinning to their robust religious and socio-political ventures and a notable ability to transmute their sufferings into heartfelt humor. They rose to positions of prominence, as in the case of Underground Railroad progenitor Harriet Tubman, slave/rebel Nat Turner, and educator Booker T. Washington. This spirit is embodied in the author's personal emergence from life in a primitive, poverty-ridden environment to higher education despite many setbacks.

Blocker began her exhaustive literary trek with an examination of her DNA. From that starting point, she was able to link her own familial origins that began, she says, in 80,000 B.C. in Africa, with the long, fraught journey of Africans to America and their desperations and triumphs here over several centuries. She balances her assiduously researched historical and socio-cultural text with lively references to music from hymns and the classical "Swan Lake" (actually her childhood home) to Chuck Berry and Ray Charles. She praises people of all races who have had an active role in African Americans' striving for equality, offering sensitive, open-minded readers a welcome serving of homespun wisdom, historical fact, high humor, and academic expertise.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Legacy Nonfiction Category Honorable Mention and Grand Prize Short List book

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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