Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories


Audio Clips
Selected writers read from their essays
Sample Chapter
The story that started the book
Bernestine's Magazine Articles
Sometimes even your best efforts go unrewarded.
In 1998 we saw the Garden of Eden.
In 1999, reality hadn't yet trumped hope.
Bernestine in Literary Journals
Mix evidence and prejudice with a jury, then stir.
Why bother with the facts when it's so easy to keep believing the hype?
Sun isn't the only thing that sets stuff on fire.
You're never too young to learn the hard lessons of desire.
Bernestine in Other Anthologies
When the thing you most fear finally happens, then what?
Some of my best friends are white. Some aren't.
A piece of Texas fiction...or is it?

When Race Becomes Real: Millennials Moving Forward...

~ ~ ~

Come celebrate with Dallas Millennials & Elders
on Juneteenth 2014 as we launch
When Race Becomes Real:
"The Next Generation Speaks"

Ours is not a corporately-sponsored, cookie-cutter road show traveling from town-to-town. We are locals with roots generations-deep in our community where we will still be after the celebrities have packed up and moved on to their next performance.

Nor are we new kids on the block, fumbling to figure out how to engage everyone in an honest, constructive conversation where all voices are welcome.

We are experts in a Dallas conversation that began in 2002 and that has been going nonstop--all across the US and abroad--since then.

When Race Becomes Real:
"The Next Generation Speaks..."
turns a critical lens on the current challenges facing those in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) who value keeping public schools public and independent.

Come help us answer these questions...
Who's pushing which education initiatives?
Who benefits most from current DISD policies and practices?
What does a great school look like?
Why shouldn't every child in DISD attend a great school?
What can you do right now to ensure every DISD school is a great one?

Join a thoughtful, progressive conversation with our
All-Star Panel
(alphabetical order)

Nakia Douglas
DISD graduate & DISD principal

John Fullinwider
DISD graduate and DISD teacher
grassroots activist & organizer

Maria Yolisma Garcia
2014 Amidon/​Beauchamp Student Leadership Award
Associate of Arts, Eastfield Community College
North Texas Dream Team

Aspyn Johnston
DISD senior

Ramiro Luna
North Texas Dream Team
National grassroots organizer & activist

vickie washington
DISD teacher & mom to 4 public school grads
anti-racism activist

Gary Reaves, Panel Moderator
Retired WFAA-Channel 8 Senior Reporter

Conversation Design Team
Sara Mokuria
Bernestine Singley

Thursday, 19 June 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM
Bishop Arts Theatre Center
215 South Tyler Street, Dallas, TX 75208
214-948-0716 tecotheater.org
$15 in advance, $20 at the door (plus service fee)

~ ~ ~

Grab a copy of the award-winning book that has spurred more than a decade of folks engaging in open, frank, thoughtful conversations about race historically and how it currently impacts each of us.

The first of its kind...the best of its kind...BACK AGAIN!

(Southern Illinois University Press 2008 2d edition)

In this invigorating, shocking, and inspiring book, thirty of America's most talented writers step from behind the curtain of objectivity to turn the race spotlight on themselves.

Instead of tiptoeing around the subject, they bare their souls and tell the truth in essays never published before.

WHEN RACE BECOMES REAL is the first book to reveal what it really means to be black--and to be white--in the twenty-first century. The result is riveting.


Outstanding Academic Title 2004

Outstanding Book Award 2003

Top of the List Editors' Choice 2002

Best Nonfiction 2002

See award details below...


To HEAR what caused the following rave reviews, CLICK any link below and LISTEN to essays from WHEN RACE BECOMES REAL read by the folks who wrote them.

"A searing collection . . . All the essays are first-rate."
—Washington Post

“Fertile with inside stories, Singley has assembled… a collection of depositions on [race] from black and white writers."

"Rich in individual insights."

"When Race Becomes Real goes deeper than most."
—Louisville Courier-Journal

"A mesmerizing book....Refreshingly honest."
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"This book captures plenty."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Gripping. . . . one of the most essential commentaries on race and identity to date."
—Black Issues Book Review

"Powerful, raw reading."
—Austin American-Statesman

"They keep it real."
—The Hartford Courant

"A compelling and inspiring collection."
-Teaching Tolerance Magazine

“Distinguished writers…bare their souls…in a rare book that ought to be in every home and library in the country."
–Choice Magazine

"More than an eye-opening and intriguing read."

"The voices are elevating, the writing superb."
—Mary Kay Blakely, author of AMERICAN MOM: Motherhood, Politics and Humble Pie

"This powerful book—entertaining, arresting—will give you plenty to want to defend and protect."
—Al Young, poet/​novelist/​essayist

"Highly readable and extremely important."
—Mimi Abramovitz, author of REGULATING THE LIVES OF WOMEN: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times To the Present


(Choice Magazine:
Current Reviews for Academic Libraries)


(Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America)




(Teaching Tolerance)


(Black Issues Book Review)

1st Edition (2002) Collector's Copy

A few copies of the 1st Edition are still left. So what, right?

Well, lover of books, student of American history, avid fan of all things black and American, look at it like this: If you had purchased James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the Mountain" in 1957 when it was first published and if you still had it, you'd be holding a $3,995 book now.

Am I comparing my work to Baldwin's? Apparently. Nor am I the first.

Think...heirloom, priceless legacy, truly worth having..

Anyway, you can drop your great-great grandma's crystal goblet and it's gone. Books don't break.

Invite the Author

Want more info?

For press kits, review copies, etc., contact Southern Illinois University Press