Book Talk with Dr. Gail Lukasik: Her Mother Passed for White — A Journey of Racial Discovery

Date / Time

October 10, 2018

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


After discovering a racial secret in her family, UIC alum and author Gail Lukasik wrote her best-selling book, “White Like Her, My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing,” which describes her struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her awakening to the issues of race in the United States. For the majority of her life, Dr. Lukasik, who was raised in a white suburb of Cleveland, believed she was white. After settling in the Chicago area, she earned her doctorate in English from UIC. In 1995 while researching her mother’s family, she learned that they’d been classified as black on the 1900 Louisiana census. When she questioned her mother, her mother swore her to secrecy. No one could know her mother was passing for white. In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Dr. Lukasik explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Dr. Lukasik changed how she looks at race and heritage.

Please join us to hear Dr. Lukasik’s talk on race, identity, and the process of writing about personal experiences. Lunch will be served, and reservations are required. RSVP to Linda Landis Andrews:

This presentation is made available by a grant from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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