• The Song and the Silence

  • A Story About Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta While Searching for Booker Wright
  • By: Yvette Johnson
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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The Song and the Silence

By: Yvette Johnson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
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Publisher's Summary

"Have to keep that smile", said Booker Wright in the 1966 NBC documentary Mississippi: A Self-Portrait. At the time Wright was a waiter in a Whites-only restaurant and a local business owner who would become an unwitting icon of the civil rights movement. For he did the unthinkable: Before a national audience, he described what life was truly like for the Black people of Greenwood, Mississippi. 

Shortly after these remarks aired on television, life for Booker took a turn for the worse. 

And so began the story that has inspired Yvette Johnson to explore her grandfather's life - as well as her own feelings on race - in this fascinating memoir. Born a year after Wright's death and raised in a wealthy San Diego neighborhood, Johnson admits she never had to confront race the way Southern Blacks did in the 1960s. Compelled to learn more about her roots, she travels back to Greenwood, Mississippi, a beautiful Southern town steeped in secrets and a scarred past, to interview family members about the real Booker Wright. As she uncovers her grandfather's fascinating story and gets closer to the truth behind his murder, she also confronts her own conflicted feelings surrounding race, family, forgiveness, and faith. 

Told with powerful insights and harrowing details of civil rights-era Mississippi, The Song and the Silence is an amazing chronicle of one woman's five-year journey in pursuit of the past - and hope for tomorrow. 

©2017 Yvette Johnson (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Song and the Silence

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  • Overall
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Exceeded every expectation

I thought I’d read and heard it all about the lives of Black Americans before and after the Civil War, but this work proved me wrong. You won’t be disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing narrative and performance

I didn't know how much needed this story! Amazing narrative and performance. This is my story too

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CRT that certain people don't want taught!

I definitely need to get this in hardback to add to my library. An excellent documented addition to any library.

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Excellent

An excellent, real story about a woman from California, and who gets to know her family’s Mississippi roots. Originally researching her grandfather, she delves much deeper into a wider culture of a Mississippi town, and learns not only about her grandfather, but also about her parents and why they were who they were. Robin, the narrator, does an absolutely excellent job capturing the tone of it all. Excellent story.

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Memorable

Captures the times and culture of 20th Century race relations in the South in evocative, elegant, thought-provoking language. Excellent examination of prejudice in both White and Black communities while highlighting the multigenerational suffering experienced by Black persons thru the oppressive power of institutionalized racism still in place in many political, social, and religious organizations but most of all in the human heart

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“Blacks and Whites”

The story was very intriguing. I found the author to a bit disorganized in her thoughts and sequencing, especially with the character building. The use of terms such as “the blacks and the whites” leads me to believe the author still needs some de-programming. Stories of the Deep South are always of interest to me. I marvel at the blatant disregard for human life and depth of disdain and misery white people had for black people. Bring from the north it’s difficult to fathom. I’m sure Mississippi has its scenic wonders, but I’ll never know bc it is not a place I’ll ever desire to visit. Thank you for sharing your family heritage.

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Unforgettable

Get this book if you want to learn something about race relations in America and also about the human soul.

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Should be required reading.

This is a journey I recommend everyone take. The examination of the complexity of emotions, deeply entrenched systems and the common humanity of us all is not to be missed.

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Excellent book and narrator

There’s all true facts in this book. It’s rich with family love and understanding as well as the true
meaning of racial discrimination and hatred. I think this book is ideal for ages 15 years to 100 years.

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Well written and narrated!

I recommend this book for anyone who wants a better understanding a racial injustice in the Mississippi Delta. The authors descriptions and story really helped me understand true prejudice and the pain it causes.