The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

by James McBride

The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children sheraised.

  • Paperback
  • Pages: 291 pages
  • Average Rating: 4.05 out of 5
  • Published February 1st 1997 by Riverhead Trade
  • Original Title: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
  • ISBN: 1573225789 (ISBN13: 9781573225786)
  • Edition Language: English
  • Literary Awards: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (1997)

The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman’s true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story–along with her son’s–The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.