Norma Storch Is Dead at 81; Subject of TV Documentary

Posted in Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2013-09-11 13:43Z by Steven

Norma Storch Is Dead at 81; Subject of TV Documentary

The New York Times

Douglas Martin

Norma Storch, a white woman whose decision to have her 4-year-old mixed-race daughter raised by a black couple became the subject of an Emmy Award-winning documentary made by the daughter in adulthood, died on Aug. 28 at her home in Manhattan. She was 81.

The cause was cancer, said the daughter, June Cross, the producer of the documentary, “Secret Daughter,” which PBS broadcast in 1996.

The film was heralded as a searing look at race relations in the 1950’s and 60’s, and drew praise for its emotional rawness and the bravery of both mother and daughter. Other reviews suggested that the documentary’s power came from a mother’s willingness to reject her daughter and then rationalize it.

Ms. Cross said in an interview last week that this impression properly reflected the documentary but not their real relationship. She said that tensions were exaggerated for dramatic effect.

But for almost 35 years, Mrs. Storch and her husband—the actor and comedian Larry Storch, who starred as Cpl. Randolph Agarn in the 1960’s comedy series “F Troop,”—indisputably lived a lie. They told friends and acquaintances that the black girl who visited them at their Hollywood home was their adopted daughter, who lived with a black family for most of the year…

Read the entire obituary here.

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The “inter” land: Mixing autobiography and sociology for a better understanding of twenty-first century mixed-race

Posted in Barack Obama, Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-07-22 03:31Z by Steven

The “inter” land: Mixing autobiography and sociology for a better understanding of twenty-first century mixed-race

Villanova University
October 2009
105 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1462397
ISBN: 9781109073102

Felicia Maria Camacho

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Department of English Villanova University In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in English

In contemporary autobiographies by black/white biracial Americans, personal identity is a major source of conflict. The proposed study will address topics that are key to an understanding of biracial subjectivity and identity as presented in these autobiographies. The first chapter addresses the physicality of biracial people, paying special attention to such topics as family resemblance in interracial families, and the trope of “biracial hair” which is used as a metaphor for a distinct biracial identity that is neither black nor white. The second chapter examines another identity choice for black/white biracial subjects: singular black identity. It shows how biracial individuals can turn on its head the traditional notion of the “tragic mulatto” who is forced by the one-drop rule to accept his/her blackness. By exploring and honestly acknowledging the social experiences of both parents, the biracial individual can come to assert a healthy black identity. The final chapter links black/white biracial identity with intrinsically multiracial Latino identity. Do ethnicity, nationalism, and language suggest a way to avoid the black/white binarism of American society?

While examining these issues of biracial identity, this study will engage in a commentary on the relationships between and among various academic disciplines. When analyzing literature about race, critics often turn to race theory for secondary material. However, contemporary race theory does not do much to engage and illuminate these autobiographies of biracialism. Interestingly, sociological texts speak more directly to the “biracial phenomenon.” Therefore each chapter of this study shows how sociology and autobiography complement one another and provide a fuller, more informed picture of biracial identity.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: The Roots of Biracialism: Physical Appearance, Inheritance, and Identity in the Autobiographies of Elliott Lewis, Angela Nissel, and June Cross
  • Chapter Two: The End of Tragedy: The New Biracial Subject, Self-Exploration, and Singular Black Identity in the Autobiographies of James McBride and Barack Obama
  • Chapter Three: Finding the Third Space: Jews, Latinos, and Black/White Biracialism in the Autobiographies of Rebecca Walker, Elliott Lewis, and Angela Nissel
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited

Purchase the dissertation here.

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Commentary: Living in a Mixed-Race America

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-03-09 19:40Z by Steven

Commentary: Living in a Mixed-Race America
Essence Magazine

June Cross, Assistant Professor of Journalism
Columbia University

As if being married had anything to do with Blacks and Whites producing mixed-race children.

That was my first thought upon reading that an elected official in Louisiana had refused to marry a Black man and a White woman out of concern for what might happen to the children.

Ever since African-Americans landed on these shores in chains, Black women carried the offspring of their White masters. And indentured women servants, often of Irish descent, bore the children of Black men back in the seventeenth century before Virginia became the first state in the union to make interracial marriage illegal in 1691…

…Where did a quarter million mixed race people go? Geneologists think they decided to pass as White and mixed themselves right into the great American melting pot. Of course, in Louisiana, where race-mixing has been going on since before the birth of the nation, all you had to do was cross the county lines to disappear…

Read the entire article here.

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Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2010-01-15 23:00Z by Steven

Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away

Viking Press an imprint of the Penguin Group
320 pages
8.26 x 5.23in
Paperback ISBN: 9780143112112
eBook (Adobe reader) ISBN: 9781429515375
eBook (eReader) ISBN: 9781429517829
eBook (Microsoft Reader) ISBN: 9781429512923

June Cross, Professor of Journalism
Columbia University

June Cross was born in 1954 to Norma Booth, a glamorous, aspiring white actress, and James “Stump” Cross, a well-known black comedian. Sent by her mother to be raised by black friends when she was four years old and could no longer pass as white, June was plunged into the pain and confusion of a family divided by race. Secret Daughter tells her story of survival. It traces June’s astonishing discoveries about her mother and about her own fierce determination to thrive. This is an inspiring testimony to the endurance of love between mother and daughter, a child and her adoptive parents, and the power of community.

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Is That Your Child? Mothers Talk about Rearing Biracial Children

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2009-10-13 17:15Z by Steven

Is That Your Child? Mothers Talk about Rearing Biracial Children

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
October 2008
146 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7391-2763-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-7391-2764-3
eBook ISBN: 978-0-7391-3208-1

By Marion Kilson and Florence Ladd

“Is That Your Child?” is a question that countless mothers of biracial children encounter whether they are African American or European American, rearing children today or a generation ago, living in the city or in the suburbs, are upper middle class or lower middle class. Social scientists Marion Kilson and Florence Ladd probe mothers’ responses to this query and other challenges that mothers of biracial children encounter.

Organized into four chapters, the book begins with Kilson and Ladd’s initial interview of one another, continues with an overview of the challenges and rewards of raising biracial children gleaned from their interviews with other mothers, presents profiles of mothers highlighting distinctive individual experiences of biracial parenting, and concludes with suggestions of positive biracial parenting strategies.

This book makes a unique contribution to the growing body of literature by and about biracial Americans. Although in the past twenty years biracial Americans like Rebecca Walker, June Cross, and James McBride have written of their person experiences and scholars like Kathleen Korgen, Maria Root, and Ruth Frankenberg have explored aspects of the biracial experience, none has focused on the experiences of a heterogeneous set of black and white mothers of different generations and socioeconomic circumstances as Kilson and Ladd do.

About the Authors
Marion Kilson is an anthropologist and the author of Claiming Place: Biracial Young Adults of the Post-Civil Rights Era (Bergin & Garvey 2000). Florence Ladd is a psychologist and won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association award for her novel, Sarah’s Psalm (Scribner 1997).

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1: The Back Story of Is That Your Child?
  • Chapter 2: Challenges and Rewards for Mothers of Biracial Children
  • Chapter 3: Profiles of Mothers of Biracial Children
  • Chapter 4: Nurturing Biracial Children: Some Lessons Learned
  • Appendix I: Interracial Marriages in the United States
  • Appendix II: Some Sociological Attributes of Mothers
  • Appendix III: Selected Multiracial Resources
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