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It's Good to Be Black

It's Good to Be Black

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About the Book

From the preface by Carmen Kenya Wadley:

“Is it good to be black? To Ruby Berkley Goodwin it was....The black she writes about has nothing to do with skin color, but it does have a great deal to do with self images, values, spiritual strength, and most of all love. Unlike the contradicting definitions of blackness we see reflected in today's crime statistics, movies, television, newspapers, political speeches, advertisements, and sociological reports, Ruby Berkley Goodwin's definition of blackness is simple and to the point: black is good. It's Good to be Black is more than the story (history) of a black family living in Du Quoin, Illinois, during the early 1900s; it is a reaffirmation for all of us who know in our hearts that there is still good in the world and that some of that good is black.”


Ruby Berkley Goodwin was born and raised in DuQuoin, IL. She moved with her family to California where she became a poet, a publicist, journalist, and a screenwriter. A confidant of actress Hattie McDaniel, Goodwin acted in several TV series, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents.


“The author writes simply, of simpler times. Hers is an account of family and community life in Du Quoin, a coal-mining town of southern Illinois, where, as a child, she enjoyed life. Fun and love were predominant in her large family. Wise parents helped her through otherwise traumatic incidents which she and others occasionally experienced as blacks… Ruby Berkley Goodwin sees the underlying strength and dignity of the blacks who formed a real commu­nity. She writes of her experiences without affectation and with humor.”—Kliatt Paperback Book Guide

“Episodes in the childhood of Ruby Berkley speak of the proud, just and generous family of Negroes living in Southern Illinois before the First World War. Since Dad was a coal miner, there is plenty of drama and pathos. But the great thing here is the family’s tolerance of their polyglot neighbors who are also their friends.”—Library Journal

“This is a record, in retrospect, of course, of what life was like for a Negro family in DuQuoin, Ill., a mining town. Part of the book’s fascination lies in the background material—the mines with their explosions, cave-ins, strikes, and lockouts. The rest of the fascination stems from the character of the father of this family—Braxton Berkley.”—New York Herald Tribune Book Review