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PEARLS SECRET Neil Henrys Pearls Secret is a fascinating autobiographical journey of an African American mans search for his racial identity Henry is a light-skinned African American man who tries to piece together a few scraps passed down in his family and many years of family stories to figure out what lies behind his dual-race history He has been plagued throughout his entire life by confusion over his skin color and how it allows him to fit into society The birth of his daughter finally triggers him to begin his journey because he does not want her to suffer the same confusing fate The search concludes in a lunch with his white family filled with emotion confusion and curiosity on both sides Henrys great-great grandmother Laura Brumley had an extensive believed consensual through family lore affair with a wealthy white landowner Arthur Beaumont in post Civil War Louisiana That relationship bore one quadroon daughter Pearl for whom the book is named Beaumont later married a white woman and had a white family and turned his back on his black family for many years After generations of family stories about a white patriarch Henry decides to find this other family this white family Henry was born while his family lived in Tennessee where his father was an up and coming surgeon one of the few black surgeons in America at the time While the Henry family appreciated their roots in the South they begin to realize that they had to move on They began their search for a new home and were looking specifically for a place that would allow John to be a surgeon They are finally triggered to move by the rape of Neils mother Mary while John is performing an emergency surgery This tragedy was not revealed to Neil until he was an adult The family finally ends up moving to Seattle in 1956 After
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