Life on the Color Line

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Life on the Color Line

Life on the Color Line is a memoir by Gregory Howard Williams talking about his life and what it was like to grow up in Muncie, Indiana as a white colored boy. It starts off in Virginia where the Williams family owns and lives in an Open House Cafe for all the war soldiers and veterans black and white alike. Since they were “on the color line” of Virginia bordering between white and black neighborhoods, Greg’s father Buster was able to house both colors in the bar and keep them separated even though it was technically against the law to serve blacks and whites under the same roof. Buster was half black and half white but in order to protect his reputation passed as an Italian, making the boys think they too were part Italian. It wasn’t until the brutal divorce of their parents that Greg and his brother Mike discovered that they were actually half Black. At such a young age, Greg and Mike had to accept that the comfort they once experienced living as white boys in a white neighborhood would change as they moved to the ghetto in Muncie.

Having never met their colored family members before, Greg and Mike were dropped off at their Aunt Bessie’s house as their alcoholic father attempted to find a job to support them. The boys quickly had to learn the rules of what was acceptable for them and what wasn’t now that they were considered colored boys. Even though the school was technically integrated the boys struggled and had to decide where they fit in. Both the colored and the white students rejected the boys at first because neither race could accept that Greg and Mike were white colored boys. Buster let his children know that both the whites and the blacks would want to fight them and they would just have to fight back and stand strong against everybody. Growing up, the boys continuously got in fights with both races until some members of the black community finally accepted that they were one of them. When the boys were forced to go live...
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