From Los Angeles journalist Njeri, a lively and eccentric memoir of growing up black and female in New York in the 50's and 60's. Njeri started her life in Brooklyn as Jill Stacey Moreland, daughter of West Indian immigrants, her mother descended from the pirate Sam Lord and her father a Harvard graduate and Marxist scholar. Njeri claims that her father, whom she describes as an abusive alcoholic, destroyed his family's happiness out of his own frustration as a black intellectual stifled by pervasive racism. In reaction, Njeri channeled her considerable energy into music. She graduated from New York's High School for the Performing Arts, destined for a career in opera. But as her teachers explained, the voice is only pure when the singer is at peace, and Njeri, confused by her violent childhood, was unable to control a voice that faltered at the most critical junctions of her career. While at Boston Univ. in the early Seventies, she fell under the influence of poet Amiri Baraka, took an African name, and transformed herself from a ""bourgeois"" opera singer into a politically conscious journalist. She left to take a series of newspaper jobs in the South and embark on such exploratory expeditions into her own past as interviewing the white man who accidentally killed her grandfather during a long-ago drag race in Georgia, and getting treatment for an alcoholic aunt in Harlem--an undertaking she describes here while reminiscing about another high-living aunt, a gangster's moll who once dyed her hair green on Saint Patrick's Day. Finally, Njeri achieved both success and a modicum of peace as a newspaper feature writer. In all of this, Njeri is quintessentially her own woman--outraged, tender, and slyly funny in unpredictable turns. In laying bare her complex history, she offers a remarkable story of a family inextricably affected by a hostile society, and of that family's gradual awakening.