Frank personal account of growing up black during the era of the civil rights movement. The author wrestles with racism, the death of Martin Luther King, black radicalism, his interracial family, and his experience as one of the first black Unitarian Universalist ministers.
In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby gives voice to the unspoken story of those Afro Americans who were among the first to bring racial diversity to their neighborhood, school, church or workplace, to the increasing number of partners in interracial relationships and to those blessed with and yet struggling to raise multiracial children in a polarized world.
Praise for In Between:
"This exquisitely written and psychologically penetrating book will teach you, bother you and bring you to tears. Mark Morrison-Reed has given us the gift of his heart in order to illumine the complexities of race that haunt us all and, in the process, illuminated how fear and brokenness may be redeemed by the healing, if painful, power of authenticity." William F. Schulz, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 1985-93
"Morrison-Reed's account is nothing less than a spiritual clearing in the forest of race and ethnicity. Every reader will rejoice that he has entrusted it to these pages." Lee Barker, President, Meadville Lombard Theological School
"W. E. B. DuBois wrote of the impossibility of disentangling the reality of African-Americans being at once Africa's infants and America's children. This is what Mark Morrison-Reed's new book In Between is about. It is a difficult memoir, piercing in its honest suffering and barely suppressed rage, but tempered by Morrison-Reed's seemingly endless reservoir of warmth, tenderness and good humor. All of us have family stories to tell but Mark's family stories, in their complexity, history, accomplishment and influence are more fascinating than most." Denny Davidoff, Moderator of the UUA, 1993-2001
Mark Morrison Reed discusses the creation of In Betweenin the video below.
This video of a young Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed and his family, circa 1954-1961, depicts life on Chicago's South Side in the early days of integration. The movies were shot by Mark's father, George W. Reed, Jr., and compiled and preserved by the South Side Home Movie Project at Northwestern University.
Below is an excellent video of Mark Morrison-Reed discussing his book In Between .
My own heritage as an Afro-American is rich. I am the amalgamation of all my ancestors: Universalist and Unitarian; Mende and Bolum, English and Scottish, Native American, French Huguenot, perhaps Fijian and whatever else. I am the progeny of plantation owners, slave traders, and slaves, of those who fought for the Confederacy and for the Union, a state senator and a seafarer, strong matriarchs and dutiful men. I am, in fact, a descendent of all who came together in this ethnic cauldron, and no one has a stronger claim on being Afro-American or All-American than I. I am what I am. I refuse to disown white Confederate Joe Gregory, or to pick and choose among my ancestors. My Afro-Americanness is not a politically correct ideology; it is an experience, a legacy with its own intrinsic authenticity. The pain of being excluded led me to conclude that blackness as an ideology narrows its meaning. Those who use blackness as an ideology narrows its meaning. Those who use blackness as a litmus test to discredit some Afro-American voices while sanctioning others abuse it; they turn blackness into a political artifice meant to consolidate power. They racialize every issue to divide rather than unify, and usurp rather than empower. Being an Afro-American is a diverse experience that resists simple characterizations. Every time I sit and listen with an open heart to the stories of my black sisters and brothers, the meaning of blackness gains new richness, depth, and breadth. And when I am reminded that there is no one way or right way of being black, the ache of my loneliness retreats and my sense of belonging grows.