First published in 1956, Proud Shoes is the remarkable true story of slavery, survival, and miscegenation in the South from the pre-Civil War era through the Reconstruction. Written by Pauli Murray the legendary civil rights activist and one of the founders of NOW, Proud Shoes chronicles the lives of Murray’s maternal grandparents. From the birth of her grandmother, Cornelia Smith, daughter of a slave whose beauty incited the master’s sons to near murder to the story of her grandfather Robert Fitzgerald, whose free black father married a white woman in 1840, Proud Shoes offers a revealing glimpse of our nation’s history.
“A classic on the intertwining fictions of race and sex, the depth of their cruelty, and the strength that has defied them. Present-day America cannot be understood without true stories like the ones Murray tells.” —Gloria Steinem
“Pauli Murray is one of the founding leaders of the modern American women’s movement, and I am glad to see her wonderful book in print again.” —Betty Friedan
“Moving and remarkable.… Proud Shoes traps the beast of American slavery, in particular, the strange and tragic domestic struggle between master and slave, and the ironic ‘gift of white blood’ that still nourishes and suffocates many Americans.” —Jack Hicks, The Nation
“A significant contribution to our understanding of the black experience in America.… Fascinating.” —Publishers Weekly