Kenneth A. McClaneColor: Essays on Race, Family, and History

Kenneth A. McClane

Thursday, February 17, 2011
7pm – 8pm

Book Reading and Signing

A timely installment in our national narrative, Color is a chronicle of the black middle class, a group rarely written about with sensitivity and charity. In evocative, trenchant, and poetic prose, McClane employs the art of the memoirist to explore the political and the personal. He details the poignant narrative of racial progress as witnessed by his family during the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. We learn of his parents' difficult upbringing in Boston, where they confronted much racism; of the struggles they and McClane encountered as they became the first blacks to enter previously all-white institutions, including the oldest independent school in the United States; and of the part his parents played in the civil rights movement, working with Dr. King and others. The book ends with a tender account of his parents in the throes of Alzheimer's disease, which claimed both their lives.

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Genre: Autobiography and Biography
Pre-Order Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History from Amazon and get it signed on February 17, 2011 at Africa House, 50 Washington Avenue, Endicott, NY.
Free entrance


Kenneth A. McClane
W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature
Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow
University of Notre Dame Press

Kenneth McClane is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has taught English, African American literature, and Creative Writing for 34 years. He is the author of eight poetry collections, Out Beyond the Bay; Moons and Low Times; At Winter's End; To Hear the River; A Tree Beyond Telling: Poems Selected and New; These Halves Are Whole; and Take Five: Collected Poems, 1971-1986. In 1992 he published a volume of personal essays, Walls: Essays 1985-1990.  A new essay collection, Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History appeared in 2009 from the University of Notre Dame Press. The University of Notre Dame Press will reprint Walls, with a new introduction, in 2010.

Professor McClane's poetry and essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Best African American Essays; The Art of the Essay; Bearing Witness: Selections from African-American Autobiography in the Twentieth Century; The Anatomy of Memory; Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Woman in Literature; The Jazz Poetry Anthology; The New Cavalcade; You've Got to Read This; and Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African-American Poetry. His essay "Walls” was selected for The Best American Essays 1988 and The Best American Essays (college edition) volumes. McClane’s introduction to James Baldwin's novella, "Sonny's Blues,” was broadcast on PBS in its GED Connection Series. In 2002 he received the Distinguished Prose Award from the Antioch Review for his essays published in the magazine since 1985; in 2010, his collection Color, Essays on Race, Family, and History was awarded the Gold Medal for the best book of essays published in 2009 by Foreword Reviews Magazine. He is the 2010 finalist non-fiction judge for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Professor McClane has been a visiting professor at Colby College, Williams College, where he was a Henry Luce Visiting Professor, Washington University (St. Louis), and a Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Professor at the University of Michigan and at Wayne State University. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Adelphi University and on the Board of Directors of the Tompkins County Library Foundation, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, and the Tompkins County Community Foundation, where he was a Founding Board Member. Presently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Council for the Humanities.

Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History by Kenneth A. McClane