My Soul Looks Back

Jessica Harris ’68

In My Soul Looks Back, Jessica Harris ’68 recalls the New York of her youth and how she made her way into a charmed social circle that included James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and others.

Harris traces her evolution from “‘bourgie’ girl from Queens” into a journalist and habitué of New York’s Black intelligentsia. She meets everyone—Baldwin reading aloud an early draft of If Beale Street Could Talk, Angelou cooking in her Calif. kitchen, and Morrison relaxing at Baldwin’s house in Provence.

Along the way, Harris launches a writing career, first as a theater critic for New York Amsterdam News and book review editor for Essence and then as a food historian and cookbook author. (Scribner, 2017)