In this award-winning memoir, a mixed-race Jewish woman recounts her journey from adoption and prejudice to helping the family that once shunned her.
Marra B. Gad’s biological parents were a black man and a white Jewish woman. In 1970, at three days old, she was adopted by a white Jewish family in Chicago. For them, it was love at first sight—but the world was not ready for a family like theirs. In black spaces, Marra was considered “not black enough” and encountered antisemitism. In Jewish spaces, she was mistaken for the help, asked to leave, or worse. She even faced racism within her own family.
Marra’s family cut ties with relatives who refused to accept her—including her once beloved and glamorous Great-Aunt Nette. But after fifteen years of estrangement, Marra discovered that Nette had Alzheimer’s, and that she was the only one able to reunite Nette with her family. Instead of revenge, Marra chose love, and watched as the disease erased her aunt’s racism, making space for a relationship that was never possible before.
The Color of Love explores the idea of yerusha, which means “inheritance” in Yiddish. At turns heart-wrenching and heartwarming, this is a story about what you inherit from your family—identity, disease, melanin, hate, and most powerful of all, love.
Winner of the 2020 Midwest Book Award in Autobiography/Memoir