Gail Lukasik grew up never having met her mother's family. Her mother kept no photographs, and was reluctant to share any information about them. As an adult, Lukasik remained curious about her mysterious family history and decided to do some research. What she discovered led her to question her entire identity, and wonder how her mother could possibly pull off such a brazen lie. In her new memoir, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing, Lukasik recounts the moment her entire sense of self shattered, and what her journey has been like since.
Author Gail Lukasik was always curious about her mother's side of the family.Her mother rarely spoke of her family, had no photos of them, and certainly never took Gail to New Orleans meet them. As secrets are wont to do, her mother's reticence made Lukasik insatiably curious. She didn't know anything about her mother's father aside from his name and the fact that he lived in New Orleans. It wasn't until she was nearly 50 years old that Lukasik finally found her grandfather — and the truth her mother had so carefully hidden.
In White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing, Lukasik tells the story of the jarring discovery that her mother grew up in a mixed race family, and was legally designated as "negro" until she moved north, married the author's white father, and passed as a white woman for the rest of her life.
My Mother Passed as White—Even To Me https://t.co/Fq1w1qIflV via @thedailybeast— Gail Lukasik (@Gail Lukasik)1509309875.0
Lukasik made the discovery while researching the 1900 New Orleans census, looking for her grandfather.
via: GettyShe was hoping to find any information, possibly a photo or family tree, that could satisfy her curiosity about her mother's family. She had no inkling that the reason for her mother's secrecy was that her family was black. After hours of research, Lukasik finally found his name. Next to it, under the column for race, was the letter B. She confirmed that B meant black.
The discovery sent the author reeling.
My memoir, White Like Her, speaks to the racism in our country in the 20th century. Learn from the past or be force… https://t.co/VaGsDgsaeS— Gail Lukasik (@Gail Lukasik)1502909551.0
White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing was released by Skyhorse Publishing on October 17, and is available at Amazon and major booksellers.