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Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler
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Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  7 reviews
George Schuyler, a renowned and controversial black journalist of the Harlem Renaissance, and Josephine Cogdell, a blond, blue-eyed Texas heiress and granddaughter of slave owners, believed that intermarriage would "invigorate" the races, thereby producing extraordinary offspring. Their daughter, Philippa Duke Schuyler, became the embodiment of this theory, and they hoped ...more
Published April 24th 1997 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 16th 1995)
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Raequel Solomon
i first read about this book when i was in my high school library. it's release was a feature story in the new york times literary section. I had never heard of Phillipa Schuyler or of her father controversial black conservative journalist George Schuyler who basically committed the unpardonable sin of openly criticizing Dr. Martin Luther King in his columns, which ended up destroying his career. At the time i did want to read it but being a often distracted teenager i never got around to it. Fa ...more
Gregory Marshall
This book is excellent and not just because its about a cousin of mine. The author follows the life of Harlem's biracial prodigy --- Philippa Duke Schuyler -- from birth to her tragic end.

In between, we get to see her nearly every day from a precocious prodigy who could read music nearly from inception through her early fame to her extensive international tours. We also get to follow and admire Philippa's disillusionment with the heavily segregated "First World" that brought her away from music
While I enjoyed learning about Philippa Schuyler's fascinating (if tragic) life, I can say I only liked but did not love the book. I think that it's decently written but that the prose doesn't "sing" very often, so at times it requires workmanlike discipline to get through less inviting passages. Overall, then, the experience of it is one of enjoyment but not passionate appreciation. For example, I'm glad that I've read it, but wouldn't think about doing so again as I have with other biographies ...more
Jamie Nesbitt
A heartbreaking glimpse into the brief, fascinating life of a former child prodigy-cum-journalist who grappled with her racial identity until her untimely death. Reading of her formative years will make you want to toss this book across the room. In her mother's quest to groom her into a "Model Mulatto," she deprives Philippa of a normal childhood and thrusts her into the spotlight as a concert pianist, a career in which she never experienced mainstream success. Equally unlucky in love, she deli ...more
Interesting person,talented. Well known but not anymore. I was reading an obit of an American classical musician respected in other countries but pretty unknown here and the obit mentionned he was exploring the music and life of the woman who is the subject of this biography.
Pedestrian writing.
Interesting biography of Philippa Schulyer, unfortunately known as a tragic figure. Her unusual childhood as a paino prodigy is portrayed as full of tension due to her demanding mother and the frowned-upon mixed-race household.

Abby Nixon
Very moving and just fills my interest in the racial struggles during the early US years
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