Cover image for Darkroom : a memoir in black and white
Darkroom : a memoir in black and white
Weaver, Lila Quintero.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, [2012]

Physical Description:
254 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT275.W3497 A3 2012 Graphic Novel Central Library
CT275.W3497 A3 2012 Graphic Novel Graphic Novels
CT275.W3497 A3 2012 Graphic Novel Graphic Novels

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Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White is an arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity in the American South, rendered in stunning illustrations by the author, Lila Quintero Weaver. In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama's Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation's race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.

Author Notes


Lila Quintero Weaver received her BA from New College at The University of Alabama. She and her husband,Paul, live in Northport, Alabama. Darkroom is her first book.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Perry County, Alabama, was a hotbed of segregationist strength into the early 1960s. Weaver's family settled there upon arrival from Argentina, their physical features a confusion to their new home. Not quite in first grade at the time of the move, Weaver spent her early school years unaware of the complexity bred by racism as well as the enormity of change brought by the civil rights movement. Her father, however, a well-educated teacher with a passion for photography, took his camera to the street and captured scenes from protest marches. Weaver joined him in his darkroom and watched extraordinary images as well as comfortable reflections of her own family's life appear. The graphic-novel format Weaver chose for this memoir is fitting and absorbing, with soft pencil images that show how her perceptions of race changed during her girlhood and provide visual evidence of the violence that her father was not permitted to record. This belongs wherever there are readers of Ho Che Anderson, Melba Beals, and other witness-researchers of this galvanizing period in American history.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The deep South of the early 1960s was a world with a deep division between black and white, a time explored in this debut autobiographical graphic novel. When the Quinteros, immigrants from Argentina of mixed Indian and Spanish extraction, settle in Marion, Ala., they fit on neither side of that divide. Lila is at first anxious to blend in, refusing to speak Spanish in public or reveal that her family's breakfasts don't consist of grits and bacon. The turning point for both Lila and American society comes in 1965, as the civil rights movement inspires African-Americans to demand their voting rights. A brutal, bloody crackdown on an assembly in the Marion town square ensues, resulting in the shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson, whose death spurs the march from Selma to Montgomery. As a witness to injustices and cruelty, and influenced by her pastor father, Lila becomes more reconciled to her differences and hostile to overt and systemic racism in Marion. In beautiful gray-shaded drawings, Weaver depicts the reality of the segregated and newly integrated South and her struggle to position herself as an ally to her black classmates, only to find that it's a path fraught with pitfalls from both sides of the divide. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Transplanted at age five from Buenos Aires to Alabama, Weaver encountered the racially charged culture of the early 1960s as a Latina who is neither black nor white. Her moving, personal memoir tells of complicated feelings about understanding her Latina heritage, relating to Alabama's black and white citizenry, studying "official" Alabama history (which totally whitewashed "plantation life"), and race relations in her native Argentina. Growing up, she observes the inequalities of the Jim Crow South and witnesses key moments in the civil rights movement. She struggles to ally herself with her black classmates, but perils emerge from both sides of the divide. No neat closure develops from the darkroom of her experiences, since in Argentina and, of course, still in America, racial inequality persists. VERDICT Weaver's moving testimony provides a rarely heard voice from the turbulent past of U.S. race relations, surely one that many can relate to, about growing up feeling "different" while observing from the sidelines. Featuring graceful and realistic black-and-gray art, this is recommended for students of social inequalities, teen and adult, and will be especially valuable for classrooms. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Author's Note
Prologue: Home Movies
Chapter 1 In the Dark
Chapter 2 Passage
Chapter 3 Blending In
Chapter 4 Ginny's Books
Chapter 5 Ancestral Lines
Chapter 6 An American Education
Chapter 7 Dear Argentina
Chapter 8 Good News, Bad News
Chapter 9 Know Alabama
Chapter 10 School Lessons
Epilogue: Long Night's Journey into Day