Saturday, December 19, 2015

Secret Daughter--#70 finished

The rest of the title is, A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away, a memoir.  The daughter June Cross wrote the book.  A powerful book that shows racism at such an individual and personal sense.  In the 1954 June Cross was born, her mother was white and her father was black.  They were not married and lived between New York and Atlantic City.  He was an entertainer and she worked various jobs to keep the rent paid because his work had slipped off by that time.  The mom Norma had a child previously right out of high school and the father was gone.  This son was being raised by her mother.  By age 4 June could not "pass" as white and Norma would be ostracized for having a black child.  A black family in Atlantic City they stayed with, agreed to raise June basically as their own.  Norma eventually marries Larry Storch of F Troop fame but has to keep June a secret for fear of again upsetting people and hurting Larry's career.  June as a child is forced to call them Aunt & Uncle at various times and then her adopted parents.  They stayed in touch & brought June to Hollywood in summers but she could never be a complete part to their family.

June is successful through school and Aunt Peggy raises her well.  June gets into Harvard and goes through the struggles there.  She becomes a reporter and eventually a producer of documentaries for Frontline.  She makes a documentary about her life and breaks open all the secrets.  Interesting life for her mom that she learns about then.  A very good read.  I thought interesting that obviously she struggled and was hurt about her situation but did overcome this.  Also thought that if abortion was legal and affordable, June probably would not have been here to tell this story and makes you think of all that is missing now because of abortion.  The flip side is that Norma would have been free to pursue her life unencumbered by a mixed race child and her 2 other children--older son that grandma raised and younger daughter that was given up for adoption.  A life of struggle is better than no life at all.

I will be posting it on PBS, I am the 10th person on PBS to have this book, so it is a big traveler.  I will wait till after Christmas though, I am trying to avoid the post office at this time of the year.  There are currently no copies on the system so pretty sure it will move probably quickly.

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