Monday, February 16, 2015

At Last, a Book

Dear Eye on the Struggle Blog Readers,

For the past two to three years you have been reading blog entries about Ethel Payne the subject of my forthcoming biography. Thank you for having been along for the ride. But now I can remove the word forthcoming. As of February 17, the book is available for sale wherever books are sold.

Already I have been very fortunate. Reviews that have appeared before publication have been extraordinarily positive.

“Important and often absorbing new book . . It’s a deep pleasure to meet Ethel Payne. ‘We are soul folks,’ she declared in 1967, ‘and I am writing for soul brothers’ consumption.’ Her own soul beams from this book..”
The New York Times

“In James McGrath Morris’s compelling biography Eye on the Struggle, this ‘first lady of the black press’ finally gets her due. Morris lovingly chronicles Payne’s dedication and her rise. . . For her, being a reporter was about 'stretching the horizon of the heart.’ Never content simply to ‘live and let live,’ she sought always to engage, fight and make change.”
O Magazine

Eye on the Struggle is a fast-paced tour through the highlights of 20th-century African-American history, with Payne as witness.”
Boston Globe

 “Morris’ well-paced narrative not only walks readers through the civil rights movement’s inner workings, but he lets us tag along with Payne on her 13 journeys to Africa and trips to China, Vietnam and elsewhere.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

 Eye on the struggle is the compelling biography of journalist, Ethel Payne, the ‘First Lady of the Black Press,’ a significant figure in the civil rights era. “14 Books to Read this Black History Month.”

“At long last, this journalistic pioneer, who traveled and covered the world, not to mention sent shivers down the spine of our strongest presidents during press briefings, is getting her due in James McGrath Morris’ absorbing new biography “Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press.”
Patrik Henry Bass, who assembled “Ten Standout Titles” for Essence Magazine

"Biographer Morris (Pulitzer) details Payne's work, preserving her legacy and filling in part of the missing history of the fight for equality. . . The rich use of sources and glimpses of Payne's personal life will engage readers interested in civil rights, journalism, and women's history.”
Library Journal

“A deeply researched, skillfully written biography.”

“Crisply illuminating portrait.”



  1. All signs point toward this book becoming a lasting achievement, and an important contribution to the history of the 20th century.

  2. Unfortunately, Nancy Inglis's "diligent copyediting and fact-checking" missed one glaring error in the "Acknowledgments" in your riveting book--the Watts riots took place in August 1965, not August 1964. At the time, I was living in nearby Compton, which experienced some of the looting and burning.