While America is familiar with the modern civil rights movement begun in the 1950s, little has been published about black families throughout the country who had been fighting segregation in their local communities for decades. Their everyday battles (both individual and institutional) built the foundation for the more publicized crusade to follow.
In this memoir, Gail Milissa Grant draws back the curtain on those times and presents touching vignettes of a life most Americans know nothing about. She recounts the battles fought by her father, David M. Grant, a lawyer and civil rights activist in St. Louis, and describes the challenges she faced in navigating her way through institutions marked by racial prejudice. The book also illuminates the culture of middle-class black families in those difficult times. Grant details how her family built a prosperous life through the operation of a funeral home, the practice of chiropody (podiatry), and work on the railroad and on pleasure boats that plied the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.