My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir by Jessica B. Harris

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Read My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir Online Free - In this captivating new memoir, award-winning writer Jessica B. Harris recalls a lost era—the vibrant New York City of her youth, where her social circle included Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and other members of the Black intelligentsia.

In the Technicolor glow of the early seventies, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan's West Side to the restaurants of the Village, living out her buoyant youth alongside the great minds of the day—luminaries like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. My Soul Looks Back is her paean to that fascinating social circle and the depth of their shared commitment to activism, intellectual engagement, and each other.

Harris paints evocative portraits of her illustrious friends: Baldwin as he read aloud an early draft of If Beale Street Could Talk, Angelou cooking in her California kitchen, and Morrison relaxing at Baldwin’s house in Provence. Harris describes her role as theater critic for the New York Amsterdam News and editor at then burgeoning Essence magazine; star-studded parties in the South of France; drinks at Mikell’s, a hip West Side club; and the simple joy these extraordinary people took in each other’s company. The book is framed by Harris’s relationship with Sam Floyd, a fellow professor at Queens College, who introduced her to Baldwin.

More than a memoir of friendship and first love My Soul Looks Back is a carefully crafted, intimately understood homage to a bygone era and the people that made it so remarkable.

Title : My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1501125907
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 pages


Chrystani rated it ★★☆☆☆

June 13, 2017

I fell for it. I took the black millenial bait. "Oh, check her out in that fashionable still relevant outfit on the cover of this book". A black author talking about the great and sexy setting of New York with some heavy weights? Gotta support black women authors you know? YEA, sign me up. I comm...

Jai Danielle rated it ★★★☆☆

July 16, 2017

"It was a time of life lived fully, deeply. Random encounters would smoothly morph into dinners or gatherings that would then be transformed into events that could go well into the wee hours of the morning, but always underneath it all, there was the heartbeat of work and writing and speaking and...

Erin rated it ★★☆☆☆

May 31, 2017

Ms. Harris (who I had never heard of prior to this book) wrote a memoir about having a seat at the cool kids' table. During 1970's New York City where icons-in-the-making like James Baldwin and Maya Angelou were members of an elite group of African American artists during a time when intelligence...

Shirleen rated it ★★★☆☆

December 04, 2017

(Review revised, final: 12/4/2017) Frankly, the ethics of My Soul Looks Back preocuppy me, even more rather than the content. Jessica Harris's way of storytelling pushed my "Hmm, something's hinky" button. I asked myself many times: am I reading A Memoir of Jessica B. Harris , or The Unauthorize...

Sian rated it ★★★★☆

January 13, 2018

I liked this a lot - it's a lovely little snapshot of 1970s New York amongst the black stars and intellectuals - James Baldwin , Maya Angelou, Nina Simone (who said about The author - 'who's that bitch in the red dress?') Toni Morrison and more. It is the memoir of someone slightly on the periphe...

Nascha rated it ★★★★★

July 11, 2017

My Soul Looks Back, a memoir by Jessica B. Harris, appeared on my news feed on Good Reads several times before I finally clicked on its link to read its description and decide if I was interested or not. After reading its brief general description, I was mesmerized. I quickly requested the book a...

Sara rated it ★★★★☆

April 02, 2017

Read for work. I had never heard of her before, and now I'm on a Jessica B. Harris binge. James Baldwin and the entire black literary/cultural scene of Manhattan in the 70s (with visits to Hait, West Africa and the South of France), food, Greenwich Village when a beginner journalist could afford...

Read In Colour rated it ★★★★☆

May 16, 2017

An amazing memoir of the author's time in James Baldwin's inner circle of friends that included Maya Angelou, Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison and other literary wonders.

Raquel rated it ★★☆☆☆

June 08, 2017

Jessica B. Harris has had a fascinating life --- and I love her descriptions of food, particularly the meals she would have at West Village Spanish restaurant El Faro (RIP). But, it felt a little surface-y to me. She writes that she had deep conversations with luminaries like Maya Angelou, but ne...

Robin rated it ★★★★★

November 09, 2017

This was an amazing memoir of the life and times of black luminaries in the 60s-70s and beyond. It travels from New York, to Europe, to Africa, to North Carolina. You may not recognize the author (I didn't!) but you'll definitely recognize the people in her circle. And, by the time you're finishe...

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