Fifteen years ago, in 1975, Genna Hewett-Meade's college
roommate died a mysterious, violent, terrible death. Minette Swift
had been a fiercely individualistic scholarship student, an
assertive--even prickly--personality, and one of the few black
girls at an exclusive women's liberal arts college near
Philadelphia. By contrast, Genna was a quiet, self-effacing
teenager from a privileged upper-class home, self-consciously
struggling to make amends for her own elite upbringing. When,
partway through their freshman year, Minette suddenly fell victim
to an increasing torrent of racist harassment and vicious
slurs--from within the apparent safety of their tolerant,
"enlightened" campus--Genna felt it her duty to protect her
roommate at all costs.
Now, as Genna reconstructs the months, weeks, and hours leading
up to Minette's tragic death, she is also forced to confront her
own identity within the social framework of that time. Her father
was a prominent civil defense lawyer whose radical
politics--including defending anti-war terrorists wanted by the
FBI--would deeply affect his daughter's outlook on life, and later
challenge her deepest beliefs about social obligation in a morally
"Black Girl / White Girl" is a searing double portrait of
"black" and "white," of race and civil rights in post-Vietnam
America, captured by one of the most important literary voices of
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