In Feb. 17's Scene
, Paul V. Griffith and the good folks at Chapter 16
passed along a tip on The Invisible Line
, Vanderbilt associate professor Daniel J. Sharfstein's book exploring the lives of three African-American families who responded to the country's racial strictures in vastly different ways. Griffith's enthusiasm was seconded in yesterday's New York Times Book Review
by Raymond Arsenault, who writes:
In an illuminating and aptly titled book, “The Invisible Line,” Daniel J. Sharfstein demonstrates that African-Americans of mixed ancestry have been crossing the boundaries of color and racial identity since the early colonial era. An associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University and an author with a literary flair, Sharfstein documents this persistent racial fluidity by painstakingly reconstructing the history of three families. In a dizzying array of alternating chapters, he presents the personal and racial stories of the Gibsons, the Spencers and the Walls. The result is an astonishingly detailed rendering of the variety and complexity of racial experience in an evolving national culture moving from slavery to segregation to civil rights.
Check it out.