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To Be Or Not To Be ... Black

book cover image A Chosen Exile

"Passing" began after the US Civil War. It didn't stop for a very long time, afterwards. In 1952, Jet magazine published an article predicting that blacks passing for white was on the wane, at least for solvent black folks. Jet had jumped the gun, however.

As the heart-rending stories in Allyson Hobbs' A Chosen Exile show, more than a century of tears would be shed before passing passed away.

For the NPR review.
For more on African-American identity in history.