Thursday, April 23, 2009

Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away by June Cross

Black, white, brown and yellow colored skin should not matter. Everyone has a heart and deserves to be treated with respect and love.

June Cross was only four years old when her mother sent her to live with a black couple, Paul and Peggy, in Atlantic City. June's mother, Norma, was white, and June was the product of her mother's short fling with Jimmy Cross. When Jimmy found out Norma was pregnant, he left her. He had no desire to be married or raise a family. Norma was still involved in show business, and felt that having a little mixed-raced girl would prohibit her rise to fame, herself or her boyfriends. So she left her in Atlanta, and June travelled back and forth from New York City to Atlanta to visit.

It was a tough time for June. While in New York with her mom, she could pretty much do whatever she wanted, just as long as she never called Norma mommy while she entertained. June had to call her Aunt Norma, because Norma did not want it known she had an illegimate mixed-raced daughter. When she was in Atlantic City, she was to be a well-behaved young lady who did as she was told. It was very confusing to June. She wasn't light enough to pass, but she was too dark for her mother to have kept. Harsh words for a mother to say to a young child.

As time passes, it comes to light that Norma had two white children before June, that she also neglected. It's understandable why Norma sent June to Atlantic City to be raised by darker folks, since at that time, the attitudes towards inter-racial relationships created a stigma over your head. However, because of those events, June became a very insecure young woman who had no idea who she was. White? Black? Living in both worlds confused her until she found the strength to become who she is today.

This is a very powerful and poignant novel. It's about mothers and daughters and what can drive them apart, or bring them together. It's about the Civil Rights Movement, and a glimpse of old Hollywood. But mainly, its about June and what she had to endure to get to where she is today, an Emmy award winning Journalist, producer, and author. It will make you cry, sympathize, and angry. The moment I opened this novel, I was drawn deep into June's words and her world. I've read this has been made into a PBS Movie, but I've not seen it. If you love memoirs, pick this one up today. You won't be disappointed!


  1. Wow. Looks like an interesting book. It sounds like June's mom was not ready to be a mother either way. I'd like to look for this one. Thanks for the review. :)


  2. This sounds like a wonderful story. I'd love to read it.

  3. I have given you an award!

  4. Oh this just breaks my heart :( Poor girl!

  5. I'm making a note of this book, but I doubt my library system will be getting this book... :(


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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