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11 Reviews
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exonerate Callie House, September 29, 2005
By 
Celeste (Jersey City, New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
This book is powerful and sadly overdue. Who knew that ex-slaves fought for reparations themselves right after emancipation? As an American, I am outraged to learn that the United States government denied them their First Amendment right to petition the government for reparations by falsely imprisoning all the movement's leaders! I am also amazed to learn that the first mass movement of Black people for justice in this country was led by a woman -- Callie House. She and all those imprisoned for this well organized, peaceful, and just effort must be exonerated. Our President and the Members of Congress can and must exonerate them now!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for American History classes, March 16, 2006
By 
T. Barger "tuffyb" (Hartselle, AL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
This wellwritten and extensively researched book reveals not only the drive and persistence of post-Civil War African Americans in seeking reparations for ex-slaves and war veterans, but what can be accomplished with little more than a basic ability to read and write and a talent for organizing and motivating one's colleagues. Callie House is truly an American heroine and her efforts to help black citizens obtain what they richly deserved from the U.S. government, despite obstacles which would have made a lesser person roll over, should be recognized and remembered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brilliance of this Historiography, July 6, 2007
This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
Berry's brilliance as a scholar is exhibited in this text. She not only introduces the heroine Callie House, as a significant revolutionary who served jailed time for her leadership in this reparations movement, Berry uses House's story as a foundation to report how former enslaved Africans were mistreated systematically. Through use of a plethora of the state of Tennessee records, scholarly materials and various other documents, Dr. Berry introduces the first reparations movement to the reader.

It was often painful to read how former enslaved persons were treated as freedpersons, since all 8 of my great-grandparents were born between the 1870s to 1890. Knowing that they were children when their parents were so sorely abused was a very vivid and poignant point.
Dr. Berry is to be commended for creating this historiography that not only revealed House's story, it showed how callous the federal government was toward Black people during Reconstruction, and that this callousness trickled to the vicissitudes of everyday life and toil, from healthcare, employment, shelter, and a quality of life that all people deserve to have. Five starts to the senior scholar! - Colita Nichols Fairfax
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good unknown history, January 2, 2007
By 
Andre M. "brnn64" (Mt. Pleasant, SC United States) - See all my reviews
As a historian and lover of obscure history in particular, I have to give Miss Berry (who I met in 1999 at a historian's conference in Toronto and found to be an excellent conversationalist) high marks for the untold story of Callie House.

Callie House tried to form an organization to encourage the government to grant living ex-slaves (this was in the early 20th century when many were still alive). She tried to do this with many strikes against her, facing racism, sexism, and classism (she did not have much formal education). Unfortuantely, government harrassment tried to destroy her movement.

As mentioned, little is documented about Miss House's personal life, but being a Tennesseean like Miss House, Miss Berry does a good job in using her knowledge of the area and historical documents to fill in the holes.

However, in the last chapter Miss Berry links Miss House's movement to the modern day reparations movement. One can argue that there is a considerable stretch between the noble effort of a woman to get deserved pensions for elderly ex-slaves and the modern snowball's chance in hell Quioxtic endeavor to get reperations for the descendants of long-dead slaves, but Miss Berry tries to put a good face on the modern movement. She notes the 2002 reparations march, forgetting to mention that it was very poorly attended and almost universally dismissed for its outlandish and crackpot speeches and states that the reparations movement is mostly supported by the poor black masses (I have to disagree- in my experience it has usually been supported by a segment of black nationalists with some high school or college education).

But that's another story, I'll admit. In either case, regardless of your opinions of the current debate, this is a VERY good and interesting read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PRIDE, January 3, 2007
This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
This book really gives one PRIDE in knowing that people exsisted like CALLI HOUSE. Whatever ones ethicity, this is a book which should be read by all and the educational system should make this be a requiremnet. The population must be told and ugly story of what SLAVERY was and still is in the HYPOCRITICAL united staes.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Racial Alibi Eliminated, May 18, 2006
This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
Since the Civil Rights Movement it seems most "Whites" and amazingly even some "Blacks" have bought the argument that slavery and its legacy were so long ago that no living African-American could rightfully claim being a victim of it.

This book shows that argument as being just another shameless attempt to avoid owning up to our nation's original sin. The fact that "White" leaders right after the Civil War used other equally specious rationales to avoid paying the piper for their unconscionable crime is telling. Ms. Berry's book should definitely be taught in every school in our guilty nation. And broadcast on every so-called news show. I'll hold my breath until Hollywood decides to make the movie.

"My Face Is Black Is True" is a must-read for any American who considers themselves educated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The origins of the reparations movement., December 11, 2013
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A well told story about the largest African American protest movement you've never heard about. Seriously, black history of the post reconstruction era is typically about Jim Crow, black schools and colleges, black clubwomen, sharecropping, or Ida B Wells and the anti-lynching movement if you're looking for something to alleviate the grimness. Callie House should be recognized as Wells' comrade, though they never met and House's Ex-Slave Pension and Bounty movement was largely illiterate formerly enslaved Southern blacks who believed they should be paid something for their uncompensated centuries of labor. This was the origin of the reparations movement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ORIGINAL CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST!, November 17, 2012
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This review is from: My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations (Hardcover)
COURAGE! STRONG! INTEGRITY! These are the words that come to mind after reading about Callie House. A women who challenge the system, IN THE 1800s!! Asking for what was only right, Reparations for ex-slaves, a subject that is still more alive today, but not the priority it should be!

This should be a Text Book in all The Historic Black Colleges and Schools through out America, this Women needs to be studied more!! ...Peace.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, September 21, 2014
Lost in history, this is a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, November 17, 2014
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A gift for a friend.
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My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations
My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations by Mary Frances Berry (Hardcover - September 6, 2005)
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