With intelligence, insight, and humor, Odette Harper Hines describes her life a life that reversed the pattern of the Great Migration by beginning in prosperity in the urban North and moving into the small-town South. Recorded by Judith Rollins over eight years, this intimate narrative is an unusual collaboration between two African American women who represent two generations of civil rights activists. Born in New York into a comfortable family, Hines' activism began in the Abyssinian Baptist Church in her teens and continued throughout her life as she witnessed the Great Depression in Harlem, worked on the WPA Writers Project, became publicity director of the NAACP, and volunteered for the Red Cross in Europe during WWII. When she moved to Louisiana in 1946, she continued to challenge racial injustice and risked her life to house civil rights workers in the early 1960s (Rollins, among them). She later started and directed the Headstart Program in her parish. Throughout this narrative, Hines describes her relationships with such figures as Mary McLeod Bethune, Adam Clayton Powell, Walter White, Thurgood Marshall, Ella Baker, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Ralph Ellison, and many others. Yet Hines' memoir is not only about her public life. She courageously reveals her personal life and private pain. Twenty-eight photographs mostly from Hines' family album accuentuate this oral history that is, as Rollins states in her Introduction, 'a complex and textured portrait of an extraordinary twentieth century American woman.' Author note: Judith Rollins is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Sociology at Wellesley College, and the author of "Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers" (Temple).
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Published May 23, 1995
by Temple University Press.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences.