Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White


darkDarkroom: 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, trying to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Neither black nor white, Weaver observed very early on these inequalities in American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Darkroom is the story of her search for her place in society and her struggle against the discrimination surrounding her. [Publisher’s description]


“A vivid, insightful, and moving illustrated graphic memoir by Weaver, who emigrated from Argentina to the American South as a young girl in 1961, recounting her impressions of her family’s new and unexpected life in racist, rural Alabama during the civil rights movement. 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.”–Publishers Weekly

“Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White is remarkable for its truth-telling about two important issues concerning Alabama’s past and present: the civil rights movement and immigration. These stories, rendered through the words and eyes of a young Latina girl who came from Argentina to Marion, Alabama, are made vivid and immediate through Weaver’s highly accessible drawings and dialogue. This is a book—about maturation, family, education, and social change—every schoolchild, parent, and citizen should experience.”—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, Four Spirits, and Adam & Eve

Credit: By Lila Quintero Weaver. Published by University of Alabama Press, 2012.