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Black Berry, Sweet Juice

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Before The Book of Negroes was a twinkle in his eye, Lawrence Hill was tackling issues of race in Canada. In 2001 he released Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada. The book draws on his own experiences as the child of a mixed marriage, as well as those of his siblings and interviewees from across Canada. In this 2001 CBC Radio interview with Shelagh Rogers, Hill talks about racial identity as it relates to marriage, hair, dating, children and more.
• When Lawrence Hill's white mother and black father were married in the U.S. in 1953, mixed marriages were still illegal in many states. They moved to Canada the day after their wedding.

• Fourteen years later, in 1967, the landmark U.S. civil rights case of Loving vs. Virginia put an end to race-based restrictions on marriage.

• According to a 2006 report from Statistics Canada there were 289,420 interracial couples in Canada. Of those, 85 per cent involved a white partner, while 15 per cent involved two different visible minorities.

• In this 2001 clip, Lawrence Hill explains the origin of his book's title, and his ambivalence to the expression, "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice."

Medium: Radio
Program: This Morning
Broadcast Date: Oct. 15, 2001
Guest(s): Lawrence Hill
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Duration: 21:58
Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada by Lawrence Hill. HarperCollins Canada, 2001

Last updated: February 9, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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