I just purchased this book, Secret Daughter, by June Cross. I am looking forward to reading this because this is the story you rarely hear about – the mixed-race child adopted by a black family. So often it’s the other way around, or at least that is what we think – because the narrative we hear and read about is most often from the perspective of a black or multi-racial child adopted by a white family.
Of course, this is more than just a story about adoption and it’s complicated by the nature of who Cross’ parents were – a Hollywood actress and an African American vaudeville entertainer.
From the Frontline story about June Cross:
In 1952, Norma came to New York, met Jimmy Cross, and June was born two years later. However as Jimmy’s career declined, he became an abusive alcoholic and Norma left him in 1957 and sent four-year-old June to be raised by a black family Norma knew in Atlantic City. She was convinced that being brought up in an all-white world would ruin June’s sense of identity.
But Norma was not only concerned about her daughter. She married Larry Storch who was an emerging star and was afraid her new husband’s career would be destroyed if the truth about June were discovered-that the Hollywood of the 1960s was not ready for a white man who’d taken in his white wife’s illegitimate black daughter. The cover story she developed was that June was her adopted daughter.
Noticed this book on my wife’s reading pile.
For me a reminder that how I see things isn’t enough to determine what I am responsible for.