Biracial Portraits

Share Your Own Story

Send Your Family Story

Dear FRONTLINE:
I'm glad that June Cross had the courage to produce her story, Secret Daughter, because it made me realize not only that there are other people who have dealt with this type of situation, but that there is a willingness to discuss it openly.

I discovered that my own mother, who is white, gave birth to a black daughter thirty-seven years ago and gave up the baby for adoption for the same reasons that Norma Cross did. There needs to be more open discussion about bi-racial children who were given up for adoption and the issues that they face as adults.
A.C.


Dear FRONTLINE:
I was very moved by this show. I, personally, saw the 'mixed' babies being raised by Black Grandparents in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. I was 19 when I met a Black man named James Moore. He worked at the same company that I worked for. He approached me by sending a note with the company mail room delivery boy (who was black, also). This was in 1963. I stayed married to him for 26 years, had 5 children, and divorced him when my last child was 16.

It was a very hard life. I identified with the white mother many times. For me it was never an open racism, but a very subtle racism. I too felt many times that white 'society' considered me to be 'white trash' . But I was not then nor am I now. I grew up on a 400 acre farm owned and operated by my father, and always enjoyed a 'higher' status than other kids while I was growing up. I do not want to go into my 'whole life's story', but only to say that mixed relationships are not uncommon and I observed the 'mixed' kids raised by Black Grandparents, had a lot of anger against White people. My 'mixed' kids get along with Black or White people. They have learned the boundaries by living life. I did not teach them about these boundaries. I taught them about being very precious. Which I believe all living things to be. I have love for the 'mixed' lady ,June. If I can be of help, to her, or her mother, please email me.
Sally S. Moore
Fort Worth, TX


Dear FRONTLINE:
In the mid-sixties, we lived in Madrid, Spain. My father was a freelance journalist and my mother was a composer. Their closest friends were a couple, Mr and Mrs Bolden. Mr. Bolden was an African American from Cleveland and Mrs Bolden was white and from Australia. They had two daughters - Ruth and Naomi. Mr. Bolden was something to do with University education on the American base outside Madrid. I went to school with Ruth and Naomi.

We were constantly together, both families, the way foreigners find themselves gravitating towards one another in a strange land. I remember my father and Mr Bolden having grave, anti- facist discussions (Franco was still alive and very much a dictator in Spain). My mother and Mrs Bolden spent a great deal of their free time together and, after Mr Bolden died and my father and mother split up they still write and speak on the phone often.

I know that Mrs Bolden was scared that she and her husband would one day be posted back in the US. I did not know why at the time (I was only 7 or 8) but later it became clear that their inter-racial marriage would have been the source of a great deal of pain for them should they have to live in a place like the US.

I would like Ms. Cross to know that , even in the 60's, there were places where it just didn't matter what race your spouse was or your children were. Race was just never an issue for us in Madrid. My parents and the Boldens had many Spanish friends in common and never once did I see the issue of race come up in a negative way until the day they took me to the PX on the American Base. I saw people - Americans - white Americans - stare at Ruth and Naomi and snigger and whisper at Mr. and Mrs. Bolden. At the time I just thought these staring, people with idiot smirks on their faces were sub-normal half-wits.

When I got home, and I told my parents the way that people acted at the PX on the base, I did not understand their reactions. My father said nothing at first and then he swore and said that Americans were just racist bastards. My mother went into her bathroom, closed the door and vomited.

Later, at dinner, my mother said: it would have been like that for us, if we had been living in Germany in 1939 and why didn't the world ever get any better.

Mr and Mrs Bolden never did go back to the States as a couple. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that they would always be exiles trying to find a place to live in peace. That neither he or she could ever go home and be at home again.
Madeleine Morris
Vancouver, BC


Dear FRONTLINE:
All involved should be commended on having the courage to address their haunting fears regardless of their views. I too come from an interracial union but of latin and black carribean parents who were immigrants to this country. I think the fact that they were not born and raise in the USA was a blessing for me even though I was born and raised here. Although prejudice exists in their countries also, it is not based on race as heavily as it is on nationality, class and, of course wealth. I was raised to think of this countries fixation with race as an obstacle and not a barrier. I don't get the impression it is that way for most later-generation Americans.
Orlando Hulse
Los Angeles,CA


Dear FRONTLINE:
I thought "Secret Daughter" was a very powerful drama still being play out all across America today. The social pressures to be one thing or another have shattered America's moral fiber. Both of my parents are mixed. To hear my father's story of his enlistment in the army during WWII sheds light on America's most dangeous dilema. When he enlisted, the recuiter did not know he was Black, and placed him in a white unit. Before he entered he heard stories of maltreatment of Blacks in white units. So he returned to the recuiting office and insisted in serving in a Black unit. Another thing that bothers me greatly, is, as Americans, we really don't know what we are. By this I mean, that unless one can trace one's ancesters down a white European path, who's to say what "white" means. An example. My grandmother entered the US at the turn of the century with two cousins who were brother and sister. After a few years living in NYC, these cousins approached my grandmother and explained that being Black in this country.
Rick Hunter
New York, NY


Dear FRONTLINE:
I watched the June Cross story on 11/26 and found it extremely interesting and very close to my own story. At times during the show, I had tears in my eyes for what she had to go through to get to where she is today and also because it reminded me of some of the things my own mother had said or done in the past. My mother is italian and my father was black, but I was raised by my father and his family.

I would love to see more shows of this nature.
Jackie Middlebrooks
New York, NY


Dear FRONTLINE:
I am a forty eight year old black man, married to a jew for 26 years, living in Idaho for ten years. I really enjoyed the show tonight. As a mixed couple, we do not see any problems with race, well no real big problems. The biggest problems have been with our children in school. We did home school. we basically did not let race be a problem with our lives. We find we have made a lot of friends in idaho from one end of the state to the other and in washington. I fly radio controlled air planes and we go to many fun fly's all over the state and in others. We also make foriegn aquaintenses. We have had foriegn exchange students. That really makes us a sight but no problems. We are going to Tokyo in March to stay with the family of one of our exchange students. We could be a great story for You. We have not had any of the problems that June has had. We live quite a contrast of hers. She appears to be a super person.
Darryl R. Ford
Caldwell, IDAHO


Dear FRONTLINE:
I am a 27 year old white gay male. There have been only a few times that I have ever written anyone about a program. I felt compelled to tell how I feel and let June know that she has touched many people with her story. I have myself wondered night after night about how my own parents felt about me and the decisions that they made. Though I am lucky and have never had to deal with racial undertones in my fami- ly, I have had to deal with a lot of ignorance. Just a cou- ple of examples are when I came out openly about my homosexu- ality my step father threw me out of the house and my mother just stood there watching him do this to her twelve year old baby boy and my sibilings who are all older than me forbade from even touching my nieces and nephews for fear that I would rub off or give them AIDS which I do not have (knock on wood). It has been tough, but I got passed it and my family and I are real close. They do not except my lover and friend of ten years, but I guess I can't ask for miracles. I guess the point I am trying to make is that, even though June and I are worlds apart, I did feel a certain kinship. Maybe it was to her abandonment or maybe it was to her cour- age, I really don't know. I just think it was a wonderful story and I wish her the best of luck.
Jay Jackson
Kansas City, Missouri


Dear FRONTLINE:
This documentary was extraordinary! I can not stop thinking about it. I guess what struck me the most was how our American society was at that time. Even though "things" have changed (segregation, etc.), people have not. Many people still feel the way they did. However, people today don't like to admit that the reason is racism. I hear so many white people say this and that about black people. Then, in the next sentence they'll say, "But I am not prejudice or anything."

I am white and am engaged to an African-American (even though he is very "mixed" himself). After telling my parents of my engagement, they decided that I have betrayed them. Therefore, they have "disowned" me (if someone can really do that). I have not heard from them in almost a year.

Before getting into this relationship, I was so ignorant of racial things - as most whites are in this country. Now I am starving for as much information that I can obtain. I have read a lot, gotten to personally know a lot more African-Americans, and have grown tremendously in so many ways.

This story intrigued me because white people always say, "What about the children?" I would love to send this story to all the people who have asked me this question. Even though this story to me was sad (brought tears to my eyes), it also reconfirmed that my "future" children will be a beautiful blessing! I will be proud to bring into this world "mixed-race" children and will rear them to proud of who they are.
Melody Cato
Germantown, MD


Reactions to the Show | Parenting | Multiracial/Interracial Relationships | Share your Own Story

discussions | blurred racial lines | audio stories | june's family tree | bi-racial portraits | how to search family trees | readings | reactions

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

RECENT STORIES

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS