• Say I'm Dead

  • A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love
  • By: E. Dolores Johnson
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Say I'm Dead  By  cover art

Say I'm Dead

By: E. Dolores Johnson
Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
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Publisher's Summary

Fearful of prison time - or lynching - for violating Indiana’s anti-miscegenation laws in the 1940s, E. Dolores Johnson's Black father and White mother fled Indianapolis to secretly marry in Buffalo. 

Her mother simply vanished, evading an FBI and police search that ended with the declaration to her family that she was the victim of foul play, either dead or sold into white slavery. When Johnson was born, social norms and her government-issued birth certificate said she was Negro, nullifying her mother’s White blood in her identity. As an African American, she withstood the advice of a high school counselor who said that Blacks don’t go to college by graduating from Harvard. 

Then, as a code-switching business executive feeling too far from her Black roots, she searched for her father’s Black genealogy. Johnson was amazed to suddenly realize that her mother's whole White side was - and always had been - missing. When confronted, her mother's decades-old secret spilled out. 

Despite her parents’ crippling and well-founded fears of rejection and reprisals, and her Black militant brother’s accusation that she was a race traitor, Johnson went searching for the White family who did not know she existed. When she found them, it’s not just their shock and her mama’s shame that have to be overcome, but her own fraught experiences with Whites.

©2020 E. Dolores Johnson (P)2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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  • Overall
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Deeply meaningful important read

I love this book. It is a profoundly important and meaningful memoir of someone who reports back from both the black and the white side of things. This is something we all need to understand and learn about . Delores Johnson writes a story of the lives of her family members who lived out what it is To be both black and white in this society. She tells The story of her beloved white mother who left behind her family to marry a black man and raise three children. The writer does not mince words explaining the impact this had on both sides of her family. This is a memoir of her struggles to unearth long-held secrets and to reconnect with her relatives. Moving, tender and beautifully written. Her analysis and understanding of the characters and the culture that created them in the last few chapters are the best.

1 person found this helpful

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It's not often...

One gets to peak inside the lives and complexities of multiracial couples and family life! Ms Johnson lays out her story ; masterfully through the prisms of several generational taboos! I found her story, inspirational, honest and a must read!
"Say I'm Dead" leads down an ally of courage, love, and possibilities!
Linda Trammell Ward

1 person found this helpful

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An American story . . .

that tells it like it is with all the complexities of our culture and society viewed from the perspective of an intelligent and warm woman with a foot in both worlds. We are lucky that she had the courage to share her story with us and the intimate details of her internal struggles and those of her mother, her family, and her country.

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What a story!

This story is so powerful. I was caught up from the very beginning. I cried and laughed as this beautiful story was being told and always wanted everything to turn out right for Delores and her family. Her courage was remarkable.

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Yaaaaas!

A great story. I wonder what happened with Delores at The Mecca? I’m grateful of current statistical data included in The Epilogue. Blessed for the power of the written word.

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Awesome Book!

Best narration I’ve ever heard! The story is like a modern day Joseph from the Book of Genesis. Powerful and educational!

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A compelling, eye-opening book!

What a beautiful, timely telling of a personal search for identity; a family memoir that I feel every single American should read! Well written, excellent narration. The author's honest self-examination of her journey, which thankfully evolved into her families' journey, carries the reader/listener along in a way so compelling that it unearths the reader's own ingrained feelings about and expressions of racism, whether conscious or subconscious. A must-read in this moment, when we are dealing with this new onslaught of racial violence, and trying to discover and root out systemic racism.
Thank you, Delores Johnson, and Audible!

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What a Journey!

From the moment I started the book, I couldn’t stop listening. E. Dolores Johnson’s detailed account of so many pivotal moments in her life kept me wanting more. Her development of the different persons in her life gave me a deeper understanding of what life was truly like for that person. Dolores story gave me hope that despite the hardships and triumphs in her life, if you just keep pressing and trusting God with the outcome the journey will take you places you never thought possible!

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Riveting portrayal of a mixed racial families journey

through the mid nineteenth century to 2020! I would like to also call it the story of Ella, an extraordinary woman who endured and conquered the love she desperately needed from all!