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Brimming with rich, electrifying tales of the precious dye and its ancient heritage, Indigo is also the story of a personal quest: Catherine McKinley is the descendant of a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan; Jewish "rag traders"; a Massachusetts textile factory owner; and African slaves-her ancestors were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo, where a length of blue cotton could purchase human life. McKinley's journey in search of beauty and her own history leads her to the West African women who dye, trade, and wear indigo-women who unwittingly teach her that buried deep in the folds of their cloths is all of destiny and the human story.
About the Author
Catherine E. McKinley is a curator and writer whose books include the critically acclaimed Indigo, a journey along the ancient indigo trade routes in West Africa, and The Book of Sarahs, a memoir about growing up Black and Jewish in the 1960s–80s. She's taught creative nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. The McKinley Collection, featured here, is a personal archive representing African photographies from 1870 to the present. She lives in New York City.
“Gorgeously recounts McKinley's journey to West Africa's teeming markets and churning factories, through funerals and uprisings, to find ‘the bluest of the blues'” —Los Angeles Times
“[McKinley's] discoveries resonate, and her unique experiences provide a vivid snapshot of the cultures she encountered in Africa.” —Washington Post
“An eye-opening account of the controversial role this gorgeous, coveted pigment has played through the millennia.” —Elle