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My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at the New York Times Hardcover – February 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
My views are subjective. I knew Gerald Boyd. I am one of many hundreds of journalists who worked with him and, in my case, had him as a boss when he was the editor of Metro section of the New York Times, where I was a reporter. I thought he was an uneven leader. He could be insightful, intimidating, charming, instructive, rudely dismissive, and also a bestower of tough love. His positive attributes rained on me when I was in favor with more senior editors, and his negatives came when I stumbled. I was not one of his favorite reporters, but I had my moments. I was in the middling crowd, those who needed better guidance from him. And yet the limited guidance he did give, when he spoke honestly and even tenderly to me, was among the most effective I ever got.
His personal story is remarkable. It is one thing to hear vaguely, as we all did on the Metro desk, that he was raised poor in East St. Louis. It is quite another to read about what it was like to go to his mother's funeral at age 3, to go hungry, to use his smarts and charm, leavened by his innate caution and fear, to see chances and make the most of them.
Race is a steadily undulating theme in this book. Boyd describes his growing consciousness, as a child, of black and white worlds of St. Louis. His militant episodes at college, when he changed his name to "Uganda X" are a comic backdrop for his constructive activism there.Read more ›
Boyd grew up poor, motherless and by the time he was 11 years old, his father had abandoned him and his brother, Gary, while his sister moved to California with an aunt. His beloved grandmother, Evie, did all she could for Gerald, Gary and their two cousins but the sting of poverty was ever present. Rice was a staple and he got used to holes in his shoes and not getting any real toys for Christmas. In high school, he was a good student and joined the school newspaper in high school. He set his sights on a career in journalism after completing a summer program at a college between his junior and senior year--- and the New York Times was the prize he pursued. He received a scholarship to the University of Missouri and an internship with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was on his way to being a newspaperman.
Discouraged by the rampant racism on campus, Boyd got involved with the Legion of Black Collegians and started a black newspaper, Blackout. He was drawn to politics, and majored in both journalism and political science, ran for student office and staged protests against racism. He also met the woman he would marry after college graduation, Sheila Rule, also a journalism major. They settled down as reporters at the Post-Dispatch after graduation with his eyes on the prize--the New York Times. He was ambitious and moved up in rank, covering City Hall but along the way his marriage failed.Read more ›
I was so caught up in the story from cover to cover. Early on it was the typical Black American family saga of moving from the south seeking work in the north and making the necessary adjustments to survive. Reading how and why Gerald Boyd was raised by grandmom who provided just enough for him to become his own man could almost be considered everyday Black American folklore.
The story started to engage me as Boyd detailed his college years and how he developed his passion for writing. As he took his first job it was obvious that he was a man that would not settle for a small role in anything he did and was stimulated by challenges.
Those challenges came very early in his career along with opportunities to demonstrate his willingness to work hard and produce stellar results with the best of them. He openly shares the personal side of his life of how he struggled with relationships but he never let it affect his career which appeared to be his greatest love.
Once Boyd joins the New York Times and particularly when he takes on management responsibilities he presents a clear picture of how office politics, ego, race and gender plays out in employee development, business growth and company reputation. Yet, he also shows how you can work effectively with people you don't like (or with people who don't like you) if you are committed to the same goal.
For those of us who have been `played' by corporations, Boyd's story could open old wounds.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent reading about the various dimensions of race as it affects business decisions and life's outcomes. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
A powerful book with insight into an ambitious man and the inside of the New York Times.Published 17 months ago by Clara Villarosa
"My Times in Black and White" is a profoundly moving memoir. Set against the backdrop of current events and the power struggles that went on at the upper levels of... Read morePublished on December 4, 2012 by JoniJ11
Difficult to put down.
From the beginning I couldn't help but imagine moving like a tennis PRO, watching balls coming at me left and right, from dozens of opponents... Read more
Gerald Boyd's commitment to journalism and fairness is obvious here. The last 100 to 150 pages are a remarkable retelling of the internal chaos that followed the Jayson Blair... Read morePublished on May 30, 2010 by Gary Graham
Gerald Boyd writes with unusual candor and insight into journalism, Times office politics, and the struggles of being a gifted black man thrust into the role of trailblazer. Read morePublished on May 15, 2010 by Salamander
I attended a Robin Stone book talk at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC before purchasing and reading this book. Read morePublished on April 23, 2010 by stevey wundar