Listen: Ginger Rutland, veteran journalist turned playwright and producer of "When We Were Colored: A Mother's Story." Now playing through March 14 at The Guild Theatre.
What is it like to be the first black family in an all- white neighborhood or the only little black girl in your third-grade class? What happens when your husband enters a restaurant with his white colleagues and the waitress says, “I can’t serve you.” And what do you do when your daughter calls you an Uncle Tom?
The late Eva Rutland’s memoir traces the journey of a well-educated, middle-class black woman born and raised in the segregated South, who moves to California after the Second World War with her husband and four young children. It is an inside story of the African American Diaspora, told by an ordinary mother living through extraordinary times in America.
Originally published in 1963 under the title “The Trouble With Being a Mama,” Eva’s memoir was republished in 2007 by her daughter Ginger Rutland. Ginger added family photographs dating from the late 1800s to today and moved the story into the 21st century. Her presentation takes the Rutland family from the Jim Crow South, through World War II, the civil rights era and black power movement, to the racially blended families of today.
This is not the usual black narrative about poverty, discrimination, violence and family dysfunction. It is the story of middle class blacks who suffered discrimination but survived and even thrived, a wide swath of middle class black America, whose stories seldom appear in the popular media.
“When We Were Colored, A Mother’s Story” has been used as a supplemental text at Kennedy High School in Sacramento, California, and at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
Ginger Rutland is a veteran journalist, turned playwright. She is available for speaking engagements. For more information about the book and to contact Ginger Rutland please email her at email@example.com or call at (916)284-3388.