- Title: Beyond the Colored Line – Stella, Book 2
- Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
- File Size: 443 KB
- Print Length: 64 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN:
- Publisher: Lulu.com
- Publication Date: July 27, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B013PQCKK8
- Formats: Kindle, Stella – book 1: Kindle
- Genres: Women’s Fiction, Literature, Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*
Introducing – Stella May
In 1916, Stella May is born as the great-granddaughter of a former slave, also named Stella May. The original Stella May changed her family’s surname to May upon gaining her freedom. Stella is born of mixed ancestry which for all appearances gives her light skin, blond hair, and hazel eyes.
An amazing beauty, Stella is teased by her black classmates because they don’t believe she is black enough. She looks white and even sounds white. In comparison, her white classmates ridicule her since she is too poor to fit in with proper white society. Stella May is caught in the proverbial catch 22. She is too light to be black and too poor to be white.
Stella May’s mother, Judith was born of mixed ancestry also, which gave her the same light skin, hair, and eyes. Judith always thought of herself as a black woman when she married Stella’s father who was also black. By 1928, Stella’s father ran off in fear of being lynched for being married to a white woman. In those days, society made it clear that the races should not co-mingle.
Who is Sidney McNair?
However, even without her father around, Stella was raised with a family of aunts (from her mother’s side) who took an active part in her life. Eventually, because of the difficulties with Stella fitting in at school, her mother sent her to a private school. Stella’s uncles on her father’s side said, “…They were breaking the law – that a Negro had no business in a white school.” Aunt Sara felt different, because, after all, she said, “Stella is half white.”
By the time the Great Depression eases, Stella and her family move to segregated Chicago, where life is not much better. Aunt Sara, a school teacher, struggles to wait for the school district to pay her. Sara has made the step into white society by dating an affluent doctor and encourages Stella to do the same. After a discussion with Aunt Sara, Stella decides to pass for white. Sidney McNair is born and enters a white society where she had the freedom to go where she chooses and to buy whatever she likes. Stella has crossed the colored line.
Many years later, Sidney is forced to come to grips with the decisions she made long ago. How those decisions affect her life, and the lives of her children and grandchildren, take the reader on a roller-coaster ride into the world of race and ethnicity in America today.
Since I had not read the first book in the Stella series, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up the threads of Stella’s story. Although the characters are fictional, I was drawn to them (especially Stella) because I have granddaughters of mixed ancestry and I wanted to understand the challenges they face as young women each day.
Maybe, because I felt such a personal connection, Stella’s story touched me even more deeply than I thought it would. I had no idea how difficult life was for Stella and her family, all because of the color of their skin. This was an emotional read for me.
Even more revealing, is how relevant Stella’s story is in America today. I wonder how many people, faced with the same dilemma’s that Stella dealt with, would be able to reconcile their feelings about their own ethnicity.
So, I asked my granddaughters who have black, white, and Thai ancestry. Both girls are beautiful and exotic. They have dark hair, and skin, while one granddaughter has brown eyes, the other has hazel eyes. You know what they told me? They said they were American! Somehow, I knew Stella would have approved.
Beyond the Colored Line is a story about an American family dealing with the issues of race and color in a time when those issues were considered to be conditions characterized with hardship and suffering. Stella’s story helped me to discover connections with my own family I never had before. You see, even in my own family, nothing is ever just black and white.
Author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl:
Born in 1987 on the south side of Chicago, Yecheilyah Ysrayl (“EC”) is an author and Spoken Word Artist.
Yecheilyah started writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She attended Harper High School (International Language Career Academy) Robert Morris College (Computer Basics / Administration), Chicago State University (Professional and Technical Writing), and Everest College (Medical Assistance / Phlebotomy).
As an artist, Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an incorporation of spiritual critique, honesty and an authentic analysis of African American identity. She seeks to create work that promotes healthy research and investigation into the cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. Furthermore, “EC” seeks to advance the promotion of truth and identity by way of Spoken Word.
“EC” currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.
To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.
Make certain to connect with Yecheilyah through her Twitter @ahouseofpoetry
And Facebook at Yecheilyah Ysrayl