It's a Black-White Thing

Published May 2014

it's a black white thing donna bryson

It's a Black–White Thing explores the struggle to get past racism in South Africa after apartheid. The book also looks at parallels to the U.S. civil rights movement.

The book is set at the century-old University of Free State, a formerly all-white South African institution that has struggled to integrate, and at Texas A&M University, which has its own fraught history and is linked to Free State by a student exchange program.

In 2007–8 Free State found itself at the center of an international uproar over a video that white students made to announce their opposition to integration at their dormitory. Just three years later, Oprah Winfrey was at Free State accepting an honorary degree and saying that what had happened on the campus “in terms of racial reconciliation, of peace, of harmony, of one heart understanding and opening itself to another heart is nothing short of a miracle.”

It’s a Black–White Thing is about the men and women who are engaged in transforming Free State. The author’s experiences as an African-American journalist working in South Africa, including covering Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, also play a part in the book.

It’s a Black–White Thing was shortlisted for the City Press Tafelberg Nonfiction Award, a national South African prize; won first place in the nonfiction book category in the Colorado Press Women’s 2015 Communications Contest; and won another first from the National Federation of Press Women in 2015.


Home of the Brave

Published January 2018

home of the brave donna bryson

Melanie Kline knows a little boy about the age of her granddaughter who tenses when his family goes to the airport. He’s sure his National Guardsman father is headed for another deployment in Afghanistan. The child’s father is dearer, his world a little less safe, since his country went to war on terror.

No one in Kline’s own family has been caught up in the war. But because she has come to see that it affects us all, she has rallied her hometown to respond.

Kline founded a grassroots project known as Welcome Home Montrose to offer mental health support, job and housing advice and other aid for returning warriors who are burdened by memories of war and uncertain what peace and their future hold. What she did not count on was how much men and women who had served still had to give.

Home of the Brave tells the story of Kline and Montrose, a Western town struggling like many small communities with the question of how to remain vital and vibrant in the 21st century. Montrose found a solution in taking on another problem altogether: that of war veterans trying to reintegrate into civilian life.

Home of the Brave is about the possibilities of creativity, commitment and community. It will be published by Chronos Books in January 2018.


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