What happens when even the family color compass compounds the burdens of childhood?
Before playwright Charles Gordone became a Texan, he became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama, for No Place to Be Somebody. Now, in her family memoir, GordoneÆs younger sister Shirley covers the years prior to his geographical and psychological journey west, an Indiana childhood that deeply informed his pilgrimage.
ôHere is the drama that permeates not just the lives of blacks who grow up among whites but of countless blacks who find themselves living and working between worlds. Fanon refers to this as æcertain uncertainty,Æ Du Bois calls it ædouble consciousness,Æ Bernard Bell refers to it as æsocialized ambivalence, Homi Bhabha and Stuart Hall call it æliving in the interstices.Æ Whatever we call it, this unbelongingness is a painful liminal spaceùdestabilizing terrain. Jackson captures the essence of being stuck in the middle. The schism she reveals in her community resonates in other underrepresented groups. Jackson gives voice to people everywhere who have ever felt invisible and different.ö ù playwright Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, author of When the Ancestors Call and The Break of Day
ôBoth Shirley and Charles are real and as recognizable as the drumbeat of Africa and the melodies of a Beethoven sonata, or, more precisely put, the New World Symphony of Dvo?ßk.ö ùMaceo C. Dailey, Jr., from the introduction