The Song and the Silence: A Story about Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta While Searching for Booker


Product Details

Atria Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.3 X 1.0 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Yvette Johnson is a writer, film producer, and speaker. She coproduced the documentary Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.


"This is the best [book] I have read capturing the essence of the two most important issues of our time--the move of the black race from rural to urban, and the struggle encountered in the move from poor to middle-class."
--James Meredith, first African American to attend the University of Mississippi and author of A Mission from God
"Insightful and beautifully written, The Song and the Silence is one of those special books that is imprinted on my heart and will be on my mind forever."--Amy Hill Hearth, author with the Delany Sisters of the New York Times bestseller, Having Our Say
"The Song and the Silence is riveting and insightful account of Yvette Johnson's six-year quest to find out who her grandfather was and how he lived his life. In doing so she shares painful details about race relations during the Civil Rights Era, and sheds light on a period of U.S. history characterized by unspeakable injustice and inequality. A skilled story-teller, Johnson brings history to life with vivid details and powerful narrative techniques."--Duane Roen, professor of English, Arizona State University
"A heartfelt, beautifully written odyssey for a heritage that was worth seeking. An often emotionally harrowing journey taken by the author . . . . Through many interviews with those who had known her grandfather what she encountered was complex, deeply moving and often painful. Over time she came to appreciate her own legacy, which was a gift not only for Ms. Johnson but for all the readers who go on this journey with her."--Aviva Slesin, documentarian and Open Arts program professor, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
"Johnson brings a compassionate and uncompromising gaze to the tragic history of her African American family. An unforgettable take on how we are shaped by an unknown past and how an open-eyed and honest voyage through that pain can make us whole."--Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree
"With profound insight and unwavering compassion, Johnson weaves an unforgettable story . . . . Brilliantly constructs a complex and empathetic look at racism in the South."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"In addition to beautiful, evocative descriptions, a great strength of Johnson's writing lies in her unique ability to absorb and relay several dimensions of conversations about painful and emotional topics." --Booklist (Starred Review)
"A timely story of fragmentation and division and of picking one's way through the minefield that was--and is--the racially riven South . . . . Johnson's story is highly personal, but it folds easily into the larger story of African-Americans striving for economic and political betterment."--Kirkus Reviews
"Richly descriptive, unsparing in its account of life under Jim Crow, and a touching account of love that extends over generations."--Associated Press
"This rich and complex family history will appeal to anyone desiring a greater understanding of the consequences of intolerance in America."--Library Journal