Friday, June 04, 2010

Author: James McBride

James McBride, author of The Color of Water and the movie, The Miracle of Santa Anna, visited Woodbury High School to thank the students for sending him their condolences when his beloved mother passed away.

Woodbury students have read his personal narrative, subtitled A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, as part of their tenth grade English class for the past decade. Some have traveled to see him speak in the past. So when Ruth McBride Jordan passed in January, her obituary was read over the morning announcements.

Students decided to write Mr. McBride condolence notes, on notebook and composition book paper -- paper ripped from spiral notebooks they carried. Each one expressed how sad they were for him -- some offered to do anything they could to help him. All of them told him that they knew how much he loved his mother and how terrific a person she was. The letters were packaged in a handmade embellished envelope, tied with ribbon, and sent to a New York address with not so much as a phone number. But Mr. McBride contacted the school, saying that he was really touched by the students' heartfelt notes and he wanted to thank them personally.

He visited the high school from 12:30 - 1:30 pm on May 21. Our students collected money to donate to his mother's favorite charity, the church she helped found in Red Hook, Brooklyn called New Brown Memorial Baptist Church - where all of the funds from her memorials have gone. Mr. McBride encouraged them to study at four year colleges and to spend time reading, much as his mother had advised him. He spoke from the heart about how much he misses her and always will.

Story Contributed By: Donna Cohen/District AVID Director
Photos Contributed By: Lori M. Nichols/Gloucester County Times

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