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12 March 2008 @ 04:16 pm
91-year-old blind, African American author talks about raising her kids in the 50s and 60s  
My grandma, Eva Rutland will be signing copies of her memoir "When We Were Colored, a Mother's Story." Originally published in 1964, it tells the story of a black woman who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia before the Second World War, moved West after the War and raised her children in Sacramento, California in the 1950s and 1960s during the early days of integration. Despite the struggles, the book is funny. Upbeat and funny, it is not the story of lynchings and sit-ins, it's the story of the smaller struggles of being the first black man in a position of power in a previously all-white workplace, the first black mother in the Parent Teacher Association, the only black child in an all-white classroom. She always tries to connect her struggles to the struggles of all mothers. She begins her story with

"The trouble with being a mama is you worry too much. You worry about why Tommy spits up his milk and smells so sour, why Archie sucks his thumb ... why that 'absolute doll' won't ask Doris to the patter-hop, why Patty has so many boyfriends, how on earth to keep eight wriggling Cub Scouts still enough to make eight sparkling pairs of earrings for eight sparkling mamas' sparkling Christmas presents (well, seven---you're willing to forgo yours) ..... And if you're a Negro mother you have a few extra worries. Will Sarah be accepted at Mr. Diddlywhat's Dancing School and can the kids swim in the public swimming pool? How adequate is Joey's segregated school or how integrated is his integrated school? And what to do when somebody calls him a 'nigger'?"

I think it's interesting that my grandma worried about her children the same way my mother worries about me. Eva Rutland is now 91-years-old, blind but continues to write and has published over 20 novels. She remembers everything and is a fascinating person. Please come I'm sure you will enjoy it. She will be signing books on:
Saturday March 15th, 1:00 PM
Central Library - Multnomah County
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205