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My Soul Looks Back cover art

My Soul Looks Back

By: Jessica B. Harris
Narrated by: Jessica B. Harris
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Summary

In the Technicolor glow of the early 70s, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan's West Side to the restaurants of the Village, living out her buoyant youth alongside the great minds of the day - luminaries like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. My Soul Looks Back is her paean to that fascinating social circle and the depth of their shared commitment to activism, intellectual engagement, and each other.

Harris paints evocative portraits of her illustrious friends: Baldwin as he read aloud an early draft of If Beale Street Could Talk, Angelou cooking in her California kitchen, and Morrison relaxing at Baldwin's house in Provence. Harris describes her role as theater critic for the New York Amsterdam News and editor at then burgeoning Essence magazine; star-studded parties in the South of France; drinks at Mikell's, a hip West Side club; and the simple joy these extraordinary people took in each other's company. The book is framed by Harris' relationship with Sam Floyd, a fellow professor at Queens College, who introduced her to Baldwin. More than a memoir of friendship and first love, My Soul Looks Back is a carefully crafted, intimately understood homage to a bygone era and the people that made it so remarkable.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Jessica B. Harris (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • sandy g
  • 13-05-17

Great read

Very well crafted memoir which in poignant ways underscores the reality that the choices one makes in ones twenties can lay the foundation for ones life. Ms. Harris's parents prepared her to embrace the world with an openness and confidence that serve her well. This is a wonderful story told with honesty and compassion. Her relationships with the gifted artists and writers of her time were amazing. Bravo!

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  • Denise D. Cooper
  • 28-11-20

Sam

I loved her voice. The name dropping was most of her story. Doesn't seem like a memoir. More like who I knew. To repetively speak of how long and well you know Sam but didn't know that one thing the story was purposefully trying to hold out like a mystery that was so evident was the first time I started to not care for her and the story. It lost credibility really quick after that. Then not to celebrate him the way you feel he deserved, so what did you do to make sure that didn't happen beforehand? Nothing.

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  • LASONYA BURROUGHS
  • 13-10-19

Not what I thought

I was trying to listen to Black memoirs this year and ran across this book. I guess I didn’t understand what a memoir was because her story was more about the people she knew than herself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Laura Minor
  • 31-12-21

Loved it! Feel good read...like I was there!

I found myself totally immersed in this book of fond memories, old lovers , literarary giants and most of all, an era that I was born 10 decades too late but wished I could have been apart of. The vivid detail of Ms. Harris's life and good times in West Village , NY had me mesmerized. I especially loved the intimate tribute to Maya Angelou and made and left me feeling like I need to reconnect with my oldest friend before regrets set in, and I will. A Great feel good memoir and history of the nightlife and times of New York City and Harlem night clubs, and the who's who's of the early 70s, and my beloved own native home. I now live in Georgia, South of Atlanta.

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  • Lynne Humphrey
  • 07-02-21

Fantastic!

Very honest and real. Love the accompanying PDF. Can't wait to listen to the music and try the recipes.

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  • Nancy
  • 18-10-22

A new fan.

Very personal memoir. I couldn't put it down. Loved the food references. Enjoyed her voice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-10-22

Every memory is truly Phenomenal and Captivating.

Every memory is Phenomenal and Captivating. So glad to have heard her story in her own voice.

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  • Steffy
  • 16-10-22

Hidden Treasure

I absolutely loved this book. I came across by accident while looking for something else. There are so many names and places, times, and situations that I remember. (being of a certain age) Ms. Harris' voice has the same tone and quality like Maya (Dr. Angelou's) that I was sometimes confused or wondered if it was she who I was listening to. A life well lived and beautifully retold here. It was an honor and a pleasure to listen to it. I completed it in one day when I had no laundry, cleaning, or cooking to do. A hidden gem of a book. I will be reading her other books and hope she is also the narrator as I thoroughly enjoyed her voice.

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  • SweeterCherise
  • 03-10-22

Phenomenal

I was drawn to Ms. Harris’s book because of the title. Once I heard the first few words, I knew I would be hooked. The rich history of some of the greats in the Black community was something I longed for but didn’t realize until I heard her story. I enjoyed looking back at portions Jessica’s life.

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  • Richard Williams
  • 17-09-22

Soul stirring

Ms. Harris wrote and read a beautiful gift to the world. Her imagery and love is seen and felt throughout in mind/body/spirt way of beloved elders, ancestors, and a few talented contemporary beings can do and my Black soul is profoundly grateful for her gift.