My Face Is Black Is True by Mary Frances Berry
Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations

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“My face is black is true but its not my fault but I love my name and my honest dealing with my fellow man.” –Callie House (1899)In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed historian Dr. Mary Frances Berry resurrects the remarkable story of ex-slave Callie House (1861-1928) who, seventy years before the civil-rights movement, headed a demand for ex-slave reparations. A widowed Nashville washerwoman and mother of five, House went on to fight for African American pensions based on those offered to Union soldiers, brilliantly targeting $68 million in taxes on seized rebel cotton and demanding it as repayment for centuries of unpaid labor. Here is the fascinating story of a forgotten civil rights crusader: a woman who emerges as a courageous pioneering activist, a forerunner of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Mary Frances Berry

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Mary Frances Berry was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She received a bachelor's and master's degree at Howard University, a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan, and a juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Dr. Berry has received many awards for her public service and scholarly activities, among them the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Award and Image Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award. In addition to having been the chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for eleven years, Dr. Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches history of American law. She lives in Washington, D.C.From the Hardcover edition.
Published July 14, 2009 by Vintage. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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The movement, writes Berry, found opposition on all sides, and many prominent African-American newspapers and politicians derided House’s efforts as “a distraction from the struggle for political rights and a hopeless cause.” More ominously, postal officials in Tennessee, where House lived, suppr...

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