Eva Rutland

Author of more than 20 novels and winner of the 2000 Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement

Eva on Eva

Eva Rutland at 92I was born in Atlanta Georgia during the olden days, when pot was a cooking utensil, webs were for spiders and civil rights were for white folks. We lived in the house my grandfather built. He had been a slave and built that house six years after the civil war.

My mother was a school teacher; my father a pharmacist. I attended segregated schools all my life and finished at Spelman, the black woman’s college in 1937.

After college, during the Second World War, I had the very good sense to marry Bill Rutland. He worked as a civilian at the Tuskegee Army Airbase where Uncle Sam reluctantly trained colored pilots for the first time.

After the war, the armed forces integrated and Bill and I moved west to California where we raised our children. It was the early 1950s and blacks and whites were just beginning to mix, at least a little bit.

My book “When We Were Colored, A Mother’s Story,’ was first published in 1964, I wanted all mothers to know that my black children were just like their white children; filled with all the joys, and insecurities of childhood, just as precious and just as fragile.

I think my story is as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. It goes beyond black and white. It’s really about the fears that all mothers face as we struggle to raise healthy, happy, productive children.

As you read this book, I hope you will forgive my husband’s outrageous cussing and his careless use of the “n” word, which for him was more endearing than insulting. His best buddy was his main “you-know-what.”

Forgive me too. I’m not quite up on today’s politically correct phrasing. We were colored in my day, or Negro, definitely not African American.

Oh, and another thing, my children tell me my views of Malcolm X in this book are outdated. By the time he was killed he was no longer preaching hate. So, my apologies to Mr. X.

Anyway, this book was written in the olden days “when we were colored,” and I told it like it was. So, I warn you, try not to be offended, just enjoy.