Topic: Administrative

September 19, 2007

James McBride
<b>James McBride</b>
As a part of Ball State's Freshman Connections program, author James McBride will speak at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Emens Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public.

McBride's "The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother " is the Freshman Common Reader for 2007.

He will speak about how his experiences growing up shaped his life and how important it is to make the right choices in life. He also will discuss the search for one's identity and the importance of family, education and determination.

McBride's book describes the life of his mother, who was born to a Polish Orthodox Jewish family who immigrated to the United States in 1921. McBride writes an engaging and personal account of his mother's childhood, her marriage to a black Baptist minister and her efforts to raise 12 children.

The biography explores the ideas of race, gender, religion and identity in the United States during the 20th century. The book won the 1997 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the American Library Association Notable Book of the Year Award.

McBride was born and raised in the Brooklyn projects the eighth of the 12 children, and he received a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He is a talented writer, composer and saxophonist.

His writing has been featured in the Boston Globe, People Magazine, The New York Times and more. As a composer, he has written songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr. and the Silver Burdell music textbook series. McBride has served as the musical director of the acclaimed Billie Holiday musical "Lady Day" and has written scores for the musicals "All Roads Lead Home" and "Harlem Kids Symphony."

The nationally recognized Freshman Connections program encourages incoming students to read a common book to help them adapt and integrate themselves into a shared learning experience at Ball State. U.S. News & World Report has cited Freshman Connections in its annual list of first-year "programs to look for."

For more information, contact Melinda Messineo, associate professor of sociology, at  765-285-5530 or

By Jennifer Regnier