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The Unmasked Ball – a Family Reunion

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  • multiracialbookclub
    The Unmasked Ball – a Family Reunion (An Essay / Article written by Bliss Broyard) Author, BLISS BROYARD, grapples with shades-of-color, choice, denial, and
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 5, 2007

      The Unmasked Ball

      – a Family Reunion

      (An Essay / Article written by Bliss Broyard)




      Author, BLISS BROYARD, grapples
      with shades-of-color, choice,
      denial, and forgiveness.



      ASSEMBLED FOR DINNER IN A HISTORIC
      HOTEL IN New Orleans on the final
      night of the Broyard family reunion
      were more than 100 of my relatives.

      I looked around the room:
      How many we were and
      how varied – some raised as
      `African-American', others as `White'.

      Some with pale skin, blond hair,

      and blue eyes; others dark with
      brown eyes and black hair,
      and then every shade in between.

      Most of them I'd never
      met before this weekend.

      Until the discovery of a secret

      shortly before my father's death
      11 years earlier, I hadn't
      known they existed at all.

      On a Sunday afternoon in September
      1990, my mother, my brother, Todd,
      and I sat on a stone wall outside the
      Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston .


      My father, Anatole Broyard,
      the writer and book critic

      for the New York Times,
      had been hospitalized with

      prostate cancer for almost
      two weeks, and we'd just
      spent the last hour watching
      him suffer through bouts of

      pain so terrible that he'd
      cried out, "Help, help me!"
      as if he were drowning.


      After he finally fell asleep,
      my mother took Todd and me
      outside, saying we needed to talk.

      A few weeks ago we'd learned there
      was something about our father's
      childhood that had been kept from

      us; we'd been waiting for him to get
      out of the hospital to explain it.

      Now my mother said,

      "I think I better tell
       you what the secret is.
      Your father's part-Black."

      I let out a startled laugh.

      "That's the secret?"

      "That's it?" Todd asked.

      "That's all," my mother said.



      (Literary Crtitic -- Anatole Broyard --
      the father of author, Bliss Broyard
      and a man few people knew was
      actually of Mixed-Race Lineage.)


      This revelation was nothing compared
      with the scenarios we'd been imagining:
      abuse or some other horrible crime.


      And after the soul-wringing
      exhaustion of watching a
      dignified man -- my father whom
      I loved -- yelling in agony, "the
      News" didn't seem like `a big deal'.

      In fact I felt exhilarated to learn my
      history and identity were richer and
      more interesting than my "white-bread"

      upbringing had led me to believe.

      We asked my mother how "black" is he.

      With his blue eyes and pale
      skin, he didn't look 'Black'.

      She said that both his parents

      were `Creoles' from New Orleans
      –a term with many definitions— which
      in my father's case meant that he was

      of Mixed French and 'Black' ancestry.

      She said that his decision to
      "pass" as `White' was part of his bid

      to become a writer; he feared being
      marginalized as a "black" writer, limited
      to addressing only "black" experiences.

      Also, `White' and "black" kids
      alike had bullied my father as

      a child because he didn't fit
      comfortably into either group.


      He wanted to spare his own
      children the same fate.

      My mother said that the reason
      we had no contact with my father's
      family was that they lived as "
      black".

      Two days later my father
      underwent emergency surgery.

      He survived another month,
      but the crisis caused

      something to slip in his brain.

      He never regained his lucidity,

      so there was no chance for
      him to explain why he'd
      made the choice he did.

      One day he fell into a coma, and

      very early one morning he died.

      It wasn't until my father's memorial
      service that I grasped the fact that

      his being "black" was more than
      an interesting footnote to his life;

      --- it was a truth that had shaped
      his and my `identity' and destiny

      in ways I had only begun to imagine.

      There, in the rectory of the church,
      I met his younger sister, Shirley,

      and her son Frank, and for the
      first time in 17 years I saw my
      father's older sister, Lorraine .


      Of the more than 300 people who
      showed up at the church that day,
      my father's family were the only

      "black" people present except for
      one colleague from his office.

      I had always known about
      these relatives in New York City ,
      only an hour away from Fairfield ,
      Connecticut , where I was raised, but

      I had no idea why we didn't see them.

      Lorraine would occasionally
      Call the house, or my dad would
      remark that he'd had lunch with her.

      We didn't see Shirley, he explained,
      because her husband was a politician

      --and my father "didn't like politics".

      But, in fact, Shirley's husband

      was a Civil Rights lawyer, which I
      suspect made my father uncomfortable.


      After the service I stood with my
      aunts and cousin on the church lawn.


      I was so excited and flustered that
      I couldn't think of anything to say.

      I kept stopping friends who

      passed by to introduce them.

      "These are my aunts and my cousin,"
      I repeated again and again, as if in
      explaining how we were related they
      would come to feel less like strangers.

      As I struggled to accept the loss of
      my father, I couldn't stop thinking
      about these other losses:

      --- the family I wasn't allowed to know,
      --- the history I never learned,
      --- the culture I had no part of.


      My father wanted his kids to be `White'
      -- to protect them, but my `identity'

      was staked on false-information.

      The wealthy world I grew
      up in was almost exclusively
      `White', with country clubs, polo

      matches, and debutante balls.

      I had no `African-American' schoolmates
      until high school, and then only three,

      with none in my immediate class.

      I didn't know anyone "black"
      well enough to call a friend.

      I wondered now who and

      what I was supposed to be.

      I started to question things about my
      father I hadn't ever thought to doubt:

      Had I known him as well
      as I thought I did?

      Had he led a successful life?
      Was he a fraud?

      I had just lost him and now
      I was losing him all over again.

      Ironically, the only way I could
      think to get him back was
      to try to understand the
      world he had left behind.

      But given my upbringing, could I ever
      be anything but an outsider there?


      I headed to the library, where
      I read book after book about

      `racial identity', the history
      of race-mixing and "passing".

      I traveled down to New Orleans and
      traced the genealogy of the family
      to the first settler, Etienne Broyard,
      a `White' man who arrived

      from France in the 175os.

      I chronicled the unions across
      `color lines' that produced my

      father and his Creole cousins.

      I began to visit with
      my newfound aunts.

      Sadly, Lorraine passed away

      not long after my father.

      Whenever I was in New York ,
      I would see Shirley who was
      always warm and welcoming.

      But reversing a painful separation
      and a lifetime of no contact
      can be a slow process.

      I began to seek out
      other Broyards as well.

      I found some relatives through a
      message board at a genealogy Web site.

      Others got in touch with me after

      reading a long, involved New Yorker
      article by Henry Louis Gates Jr.,
      head of `African-American' studies
      at Harvard, revealing the story
      of my father's `racial identity'.

      The piece made me feel even
      more pressed to absorb

      what the news meant to me.

      I went out to Los Angeles, where I met
      a dozen relatives and learned about
      other branches of the family tree in
      which decades earlier a parent or
      grandparent had crossed into the
      'White' world and disappeared.

      During the years of Jim Crow, many
      of my relatives who could "pass"
      for `White' did so--to get a
      better job, to send their kids

      to a better school, to go to
      the nicer, "Whites Only" beaches.

      Most of them came home at night
      and became "
      black" again, but some,
      like my dad, moved permanently

      to the other side of `the color line'.

      One of the Broyard descendants,
      Gloria, a lively woman in her

      early forties who grew up in
      Long Beach, California, had
      also recently discovered her

      African ancestry and I offered
      to help her organize a reunion

      that would try to assemble these
      broken branches of the family.


      After two years of planning
      and hundreds of letters, phone

      calls, and e-mails, members of
      the `White' and "
      black" sides
       finally assembled this Past June.

      As soon as I arrived at the hotel
      in New Orleans , I tried to spot
      Broyards by their characteristic

      Creole looks of light skin and
      wavy hair, and some quality that
      seemed particularly Broyard:
      a playfulness, a bounce to
      their walk, round hooded

      eyes, or a sly, wide smile.

      I was looking for people
      who reminded me of my father.

      As we trickled into the cocktail party
      the first night, Gloria, in a bright
      floral sundress, greeted everyone
      and handed out nametags, color-coded

      according to our branch of the family.

      We all descend from six brothers --
      the oldest, my great grandfather
      Paul, who was born in 1856 and

      the youngest, Gloria's great-
      grandfather Octave, born in 1872.

      In the tight-knit Creole community,
      little attention is paid to how

      close or distant a relative is,
      and all around me I heard
      greetings of "Hi, Cuz."

      Before approaching anyone I took
      a long moment putting on my nametag
      and shuffling through my family papers.


      I felt suddenly nervous about meeting
      my cousins, who had been abstract
      names on a family tree up until now.


      I worried about what they might
      think of my father and his

      choice to live as `White'.

      Joyce, my father's second cousin,
      and her daughter Dionne
      introduced themselves.


      "We have something to show you,
      said Dionne, who is tall and

      strikingly good-looking, with
      the expressive Broyard eyes.

      Joyce is of my father's generation

      although her smooth skin and
      thick brown hair make her look

      much younger than her 70 years.

      Dionne held out a photo
      of my grandfather that
      belonged to Joyce's mother.

      In the picture he is young
      and handsome, wearing a white
      double-breasted suit that

      hangs open unbuttoned, his
      pants pulled up high on his waist.


      I remembered my father saying that
      his dad believed he had particularly
      long legs and liked to show them off.

      We laughed about this, and "the
      Differences" between us -- in "race"
      and `history' -- shrank a little.

      Cousins who hadn't seen one another
      in decades hugged while their

      kids exchanged shy hellos.

      Members from the "black" and `White'
      sides met and searched in conversation
      for people and places they all knew to
      make real the fact that they were kin.

      Everyone shared family photographs,

      and flashbulbs popped every few
      minutes, capturing new ones.

      As my relatives and I built
      connections, we leaned over
      the family tree laid out on
      tables around the room and

      deciphered our relationships:
      cousins once removed,
      or second or third.

      We told stories--about my

      great-grandfather's hard luck
      with fast women and slow horses,
      his trip to California in 1895, his

      nickname of Belhomme, "beautiful man."

      We rolled our eyes over the Broyard
      men's legendary appeal to women.


      We proudly listed all the buildings in
      New Orleans still standing that our
      ancestors, mostly bricklayers and

      carpenters, had constructed.

      Over and over again the shape of
      someone's eyes or jaw, the way

      someone smiled knowingly over a
      familiar story or family trait
      reminded me of how we were related.


      Throughout the weekend, as we
      shared meals, bumped into one

      another in the lobby, and visited
      family tombs at local cemeteries,

      these cousins I'd never met told
      me they had known about my father:
      the writer Anatole Broyard,
      who was living as `White' with
      his family in Connecticut.

      No one openly criticized his choice,

      and many were quick to say that
      they didn't judge him, citing
      the lack of opportunities facing
      "blacks" and "your father's
      understandable desire to better

      the lives of you and your family".

      But I was still reserving
      my judgment about him.

      I listened during their stories
      for the feelings underneath.

      Over breakfast one morning my cousin
      Janis, who was raised as "black",
      told me that when she was growing
      up, her uncle Emile once came over
      to her house with clippings of my

      father's writing from the Times.

      Anatole Broyard
      was a relative,
      he told her, Janis asked if
      she could meet my dad.

      No, she was told; she must never
      contact my family because we were

      living `on the other side' and
      we didn't want to know her.


      I could hear in her voice the
      hurt her young self must have felt.

      "It made me think there was
      something about me that I
      should be ashamed of," she said.

      I protested that I would have
      loved to know her except I
      wasn't ever given the chance.


      But nothing I could say would
      undo this legacy of my father's.

      I hoped, though, that my yearning
      to be a part of this family
      might make a small amends.

      On the last night, Mark, another
      cousin, described the challenges
      his family faced by staying in the
      "black" community, the bricks thrown
      at his older brother on the way to

      school as New Orleans struggled
      toward integration, his parents'
      success in the face of discrimination.


      His father moved the family out to Los
      Angeles in the 1960s, where he turned

      the Broyard skill as builders into
      a prosperous contracting business.

      His mother chose to teach
      in "black" schools though she
      could have "passed" and worked in
      `White' schools with more resources,
      better pay, and smaller classes.

      "They were proud to be `Colored',"
      Mark said, "just as I am proud
      to be "black" and proud that
      my kids are `
    • Yvette
      Wow, what a story. What a discovery. I can t imagine the feeling of finding out one isn t what they thought they were, or that a parent was somewhat of a
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 5, 2007
        Wow, what a story. What a discovery.

        I can't imagine the feeling of finding out one isn't what they
        thought they were, or that a parent was somewhat of a stranger.

        I had relatives who were very light skinned and could have
        "passed" for White, but they never did, do whatever reason.

        Somewhat related, when I was in college, I was
        in a Spanish-language class with a variety of
        students of different races, cultures and ages.
        When one young man with tan-skin and a closely-shaved
        head joked with a close friend of his who was apparently
        White, the black students around me told me
        the tan-skinned student was a "passer."
        Funny enough, since he seemed bulky in weight at the time,
        I thought at the time that "passer" was a football term.

        I couldn't believe that people still acknowledged or spoke
        of people "passing" as 1 race instead of embracing 2 races or
        whatever the truth was...whether "passing" had happened or not.

        It kinda makes me wonder if it still happens today.



        multiracialbookclub <soaptalk@...> wrote:




        The Unmasked Ball

        – a Family Reunion

        (An Essay / Article written by Bliss Broyard)




        Author, BLISS BROYARD, grapples
        with shades-of-color, choice,
        denial, and forgiveness.



        ASSEMBLED FOR DINNER IN A HISTORIC
        HOTEL IN New Orleans on the final
        night of the Broyard family reunion
        were more than 100 of my relatives.

        I looked around the room:
        How many we were and
        how varied – some raised as
        `African-American', others as `White'.

        Some with pale skin, blond hair,

        and blue eyes; others dark with
        brown eyes and black hair,
        and then every shade in between.

        Most of them I'd never
        met before this weekend.

        Until the discovery of a secret

        shortly before my father's death
        11 years earlier, I hadn't
        known they existed at all.

        On a Sunday afternoon in September
        1990, my mother, my brother, Todd,
        and I sat on a stone wall outside the
        Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston .


        My father, Anatole Broyard,
        the writer and book critic

        for the New York Times,
        had been hospitalized with

        prostate cancer for almost
        two weeks, and we'd just
        spent the last hour watching
        him suffer through bouts of

        pain so terrible that he'd
        cried out, "Help, help me!"
        as if he were drowning.


        After he finally fell asleep,
        my mother took Todd and me
        outside, saying we needed to talk.

        A few weeks ago we'd learned there
        was something about our father's
        childhood that had been kept from

        us; we'd been waiting for him to get
        out of the hospital to explain it.

        Now my mother said,

        "I think I better tell
         you what the secret is.
        Your father's part-Black."

        I let out a startled laugh.

        "That's the secret?"

        "That's it?" Todd asked.

        "That's all," my mother said.



        (Literary Crtitic -- Anatole Broyard --
        the father of author, Bliss Broyard
        and a man few people knew was
        actually of Mixed-Race Lineage.)


        This revelation was nothing compared
        with the scenarios we'd been imagining:
        abuse or some other horrible crime.


        And after the soul-wringing
        exhaustion of watching a
        dignified man -- my father whom
        I loved -- yelling in agony, "the
        News" didn't seem like `a big deal'.

        In fact I felt exhilarated to learn my
        history and identity were richer and
        more interesting than my "white-bread"

        upbringing had led me to believe.

        We asked my mother how "black" is he.

        With his blue eyes and pale
        skin, he didn't look 'Black'.

        She said that both his parents

        were `Creoles' from New Orleans
        –a term with many definitions— which
        in my father's case meant that he was

        of Mixed French and 'Black' ancestry.

        She said that his decision to
        "pass" as `White' was part of his bid

        to become a writer; he feared being
        marginalized as a "black" writer, limited
        to addressing only "black" experiences.

        Also, `White' and "black" kids
        alike had bullied my father as

        a child because he didn't fit
        comfortably into either group.


        He wanted to spare his own
        children the same fate.

        My mother said that the reason
        we had no contact with my father's
        family was that they lived as "
        black".

        Two days later my father
        underwent emergency surgery.

        He survived another month,
        but the crisis caused

        something to slip in his brain.

        He never regained his lucidity,

        so there was no chance for
        him to explain why he'd
        made the choice he did.

        One day he fell into a coma, and

        very early one morning he died.

        It wasn't until my father's memorial
        service that I grasped the fact that

        his being "black" was more than
        an interesting footnote to his life;

        --- it was a truth that had shaped
        his and my `identity' and destiny

        in ways I had only begun to imagine.

        There, in the rectory of the church,
        I met his younger sister, Shirley,

        and her son Frank, and for the
        first time in 17 years I saw my
        father's older sister, Lorraine .


        Of the more than 300 people who
        showed up at the church that day,
        my father's family were the only

        "black" people present except for
        one colleague from his office.

        I had always known about
        these relatives in New York City ,
        only an hour away from Fairfield ,
        Connecticut , where I was raised, but

        I had no idea why we didn't see them.

        Lorraine would occasionally
        Call the house, or my dad would
        remark that he'd had lunch with her.

        We didn't see Shirley, he explained,
        because her husband was a politician

        --and my father "didn't like politics".

        But, in fact, Shirley's husband

        was a Civil Rights lawyer, which I
        suspect made my father uncomfortable.


        After the service I stood with my
        aunts and cousin on the church lawn.


        I was so excited and flustered that
        I couldn't think of anything to say.

        I kept stopping friends who

        passed by to introduce them.

        "These are my aunts and my cousin,"
        I repeated again and again, as if in
        explaining how we were related they
        would come to feel less like strangers.

        As I struggled to accept the loss of
        my father, I couldn't stop thinking
        about these other losses:

        --- the family I wasn't allowed to know,
        --- the history I never learned,
        --- the culture I had no part of.


        My father wanted his kids to be `White'
        -- to protect them, but my `identity'

        was staked on false-information.

        The wealthy world I grew
        up in was almost exclusively
        `White', with country clubs, polo

        matches, and debutante balls.

        I had no `African-American' schoolmates
        until high school, and then only three,

        with none in my immediate class.

        I didn't know anyone "black"
        well enough to call a friend.

        I wondered now who and

        what I was supposed to be.

        I started to question things about my
        father I hadn't ever thought to doubt:

        Had I known him as well
        as I thought I did?

        Had he led a successful life?
        Was he a fraud?

        I had just lost him and now
        I was losing him all over again.

        Ironically, the only way I could
        think to get him back was
        to try to understand the
        world he had left behind.

        But given my upbringing, could I ever
        be anything but an outsider there?


        I headed to the library, where
        I read book after book about

        `racial identity', the history
        of race-mixing and "passing".

        I traveled down to New Orleans and
        traced the genealogy of the family
        to the first settler, Etienne Broyard,
        a `White' man who arrived

        from France in the 175os.

        I chronicled the unions across
        `color lines' that produced my

        father and his Creole cousins.

        I began to visit with
        my newfound aunts.

        Sadly, Lorraine passed away

        not long after my father.

        Whenever I was in New York ,
        I would see Shirley who was
        always warm and welcoming.

        But reversing a painful separation
        and a lifetime of no contact
        can be a slow process.

        I began to seek out
        other Broyards as well.

        I found some relatives through a
        message board at a genealogy Web site.

        Others got in touch with me after

        reading a long, involved New Yorker
        article by Henry Louis Gates Jr.,
        head of `African-American' studies
        at Harvard, revealing the story
        of my father's `racial identity'.

        The piece made me feel even
        more pressed to absorb

        what the news meant to me.

        I went out to Los Angeles, where I met
        a dozen relatives and learned about
        other branches of the family tree in
        which decades earlier a parent or
        grandparent had crossed into the
        'White' world and disappeared.

        During the years of Jim Crow, many
        of my relatives who could "pass"
        for `White' did so--to get a
        better job, to send their kids

        to a better school, to go to
        the nicer, "Whites Only" beaches.

        Most of them came home at night
        and became "
        black" again, but some,
        like my dad, moved permanently

        to the other side of `the color line'.

        One of the Broyard descendants,
        Gloria, a lively woman in her

        early forties who grew up in
        Long Beach, California, had
        also recently discovered her

        African ancestry and I offered
        to help her organize a reunion

        that would try to assemble these
        broken branches of the family.


        After two years of planning
        and hundreds of letters, phone

        calls, and e-mails, members of
        the `White' and "
        black" sides
         finally assembled this Past June.

        As soon as I arrived at the hotel
        in New Orleans , I tried to spot
        Broyards by their characteristic

        Creole looks of light skin and
        wavy hair, and some quality that
        seemed particularly Broyard:
        a playfulness, a bounce to
        their walk, round hooded

        eyes, or a sly, wide smile.

        I was looking for people
        who reminded me of my father.

        As we trickled into the cocktail party
        the first night, Gloria, in a bright
        floral sundress, greeted everyone
        and handed out nametags, color-coded

        according to our branch of the family.

        We all descend from six brothers --
        the oldest, my great grandfather
        Paul, who was born in 1856 and

        the youngest, Gloria's great-
        grandfather Octave, born in 1872.

        In the tight-knit Creole community,
        little attention is paid to how

        close or distant a relative is,
        and all around me I heard
        greetings of "Hi, Cuz."

        Before approaching anyone I took
        a long moment putting on my nametag
        and shuffling through my family papers.


        I felt suddenly nervous about meeting
        my cousins, who had been abstract
        names on a family tree up until now.


        I worried about what they might
        think of my father and his

        choice to live as `White'.

        Joyce, my father's second cousin,
        and her daughter Dionne
        introduced themselves.


        "We have something to show you,
        said Dionne, who is tall and

        strikingly good-looking, with
        the expressive Broyard eyes.

        Joyce is of my father's generation

        although her smooth skin and
        thick brown hair make her look

        much younger than her 70 years.

        Dionne held out a photo
        of my grandfather that
        belonged to Joyce's mother.

        In the picture he is young
        and handsome, wearing a white
        double-breasted suit that

        hangs open unbuttoned, his
        pants pulled up high on his waist.


        I remembered my father saying that
        his dad believed he had particularly
        long legs and liked to show them off.

        We laughed about this, and "the
        Differences" between us -- in "race"
        and `history' -- shrank a little.

        Cousins who hadn't seen one another
        in decades hugged while their

        kids exchanged shy hellos.

        Members from the "black" and `White'
        sides met and searched in conversation
        for people and places they all knew to
        make real the fact that they were kin.

        Everyone shared family photographs,

        and flashbulbs popped every few
        minutes, capturing new ones.

        As my relatives and I built
        connections, we leaned over
        the family tree laid out on
        tables around the room and

        deciphered our relationships:
        cousins once removed,
        or second or third.

        We told stories--about my

        great-grandfather' s hard luck
        with fast women and slow horses,
        his trip to California in 1895, his

        nickname of Belhomme, "beautiful man."

        We rolled our eyes over the Broyard
        men's legendary appeal to women.


        We proudly listed all the buildings in
        New Orleans still standing that our
        ancestors, mostly bricklayers and

        carpenters, had constructed.

        Over and over again the shape of
        someone's eyes or jaw, the way

        someone smiled knowingly over a
        familiar story or family trait
        reminded me of how we were related.


        Throughout the weekend, as we
        shared meals, bumped into one

        another in the lobby, and visited
        family tombs at local cemeteries,

        these cousins I'd never met told
        me they had known about my father:
        the writer Anatole Broyard,
        who was living as `White' with
        his family in Connecticut.

        No one openly criticized his choice,

        and many were quick to say that
        they didn't judge him, citing
        the lack of opportunities facing
        "blacks" and "your father's
        understandable desire to better

        the lives of you and your family".

        But I was still reserving
        my judgment about him.

        I listened during their stories
        for the feelings underneath.

        Over breakfast one morning my cousin
        Janis, who was raised as "black",
        told me that when she was growing
        up, her uncle Emile once came over
        to her house with clippings of my

        father's writing from the Times.

        Anatole Broyard
        was a relative,
        he told her, Janis asked if
        she could meet my dad.

        No, she was told; she must never
        contact my family because we were

        living `on the other side' and
        we didn't want to know her.


        I could hear in her voice the
        hurt her young self must have felt.

        "It made me think there was
        something about me that I
        should be ashamed of," she said.

        I protested that I would have
        loved to know her except I
        wasn't ever given the chance.


        But nothing I could say would
        undo this legacy of my father's.

        I hoped, though, that my yearning
        to be a part of this family
        might make a small amends.

        On the last night, Mark, another
        cousin, described the challenges
        his family faced by staying in the
        "black" community, the bricks thrown
        at his older brother on the way to

        school as New Orleans struggled
        toward integration, his parents'
        success in the face of discrimination.


        His father moved the family out to Los
        Angeles in the 1960s, where he turned

        the Broyard skill as builders into
        a prosperous contracting business.

        His mother chose to teach
        in "black" schools though she
        could have "passed" and worked in
        `White' schools with more resources,
        better pay, and smaller classes.

        "They were proud to be `Colored',"
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