Spanning most of the twentieth century, "Another Way Home" celebrates the special circumstance of being born and reared in a household where being a woman of mixed race could be a fundamental source of strength, vitality, and courage. Ronne Hartfield begins her chronicle with the early life of her mother, Day Shepherd. Born to a wealthy British plantation owner and the mixed-race daughter of a former slave, Day negotiates the complicated circumstances of plantation life in the border country of Louisiana and Mississippi and, as she enters womanhood, the quadroon and octoroon societies of New Orleans. Equally a tale of the Great Migration, "Another Way Home" traces Day's journey to Bronzeville, the epicenter of black Chicago during the first half of the twentieth century. Here, through the eyes of Day and, ultimately, her daughter, we witness the bustling city streets and vibrant middle-class culture of this iconic black neighborhood.
We also relive crucial moments in African American history as they are experienced by the author's family and others in Chicago's South Side black community, from the race riots of 1919 and the Great Depression to the murder of Emmett Till and the dawn of the civil rights movement. Throughout her book, Hartfield portrays mixed-race Americans navigating the challenges of their lives with resilience and grace, making "Another Way Home" an intimate and compelling encounter with one family's response to our racially charged culture.
Ronne Hartfield is a senior research fellow in religion and art at the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and an international museum consultant. She is the former Woman's Board Endowed Executive Director of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago and was executive director of Chicago-based Urban Gateways: The Center for Arts in Education.