Rembert’s memoir is not just a lens through which we can view American history; at its heart it is a love story ... documents racial and economic violence under white supremacy as a living history. It also gives us an example of how to live without bitterness or seeking revenge. From Rembert’s abandonment by his birth mother to the forced labor on the cotton fields and the abuses of the prison wardens, he remembers his struggle with acceptance, forgiveness, and often gratitude for the lessons he learned from his mistakes ... He was never going to outrun his blackness in Jim Crow or even in post-Civil Rights America, in the South or the North. Instead, he picked up some tools and paints and changed the arc of his story, placing black history at the center of it, transforming hate and humiliation into love and forgiveness.
... preserv[es] [Rembert's] easygoing manner and offhand wit in his recounting of otherwise dire circumstances ... An artistic eye shines through in his elegantly natural prose ... Rather than seeming redundant, the entwined forms serve as a gloss on one another, the words providing insights and unseeable detail, the images deepening our sense of the emotional impact of the narrator’s experiences ... Rembert’s memoir is cause for hope and shame. It’s a story about running and a story about having nowhere to go.
Rembert (whose name echoes remember) first told his life story in vivid images carved, tooled, and colored on sheets of leather ... Chasing Me to My Grave tells the inside story of the experiences his works illustrate .. Kelly did a superb job of eliciting and arranging the chronological narrative. She captured Rembert’s dialect and preserved his voice. She also drew out the feelings behind the events, filled in the understory.
This is a book like no other, from Winfred Rembert’s unique and uniquely powerful autobiographical paintings to his disturbing and courageous life story, frankly told to philosophy professor Kelly ... With a foreword by Bryan Stevenson and superb color reproductions, Rembert’s self-portrait in word and image belongs in every library.
Powerfully amplified by his plain and straightforward delivery, Black artist Winfred Rembert evokes some of the ugliest and most brutal aspects of American history in his posthumously released memoir ... Chasing Me to My Grave offers most of us a chance to listen to his voice for the first time. His artwork and storytelling are unified by their vivid depiction of scenes from his youth ... One of the more notable stylistic aspects of the memoir is it’s plainspoken delivery. At times, its conversational tone can be confrontational ... Despite the book’s many weighty topics, Rembert does not attempt to moralize or dwell too long on any single trail. He avoids becoming too sentimental; instead, his voice typifies the type of down-to-earth, matter-of-fact resilience that he was forced to develop in order to survive the Jim Crow South and eventually find success as an artist ... He also provides an intimate knowledge of his craft ... Chasing Me to My Grave will most likely appeal to a number of different audiences ... the book stands as a raw and very personal account of the degradations of the Jim Crow South ... the memoir offers invaluable insights into both his life story and fascinating artistic process ... the volume serves as a compelling introduction to a unique artist who has an indispensable tale to tell.
... a powerful, unfiltered look at life growing up in Jim Crow Georgia ... Despite his incredible hardships, Rembert highlights the beauty he encountered, such as the kindness of strangers and his wife, Patsy, who encouraged him to 'turn my stories into art.' This is a stunning portrait of hope in the face of evil, barbarity, and racism.
... thoughtful and honest, and Patsy's chapter, told in her own words, is also frank and compelling. Readers should note that the N-word appears more than 70 times in the text, which is deliberate ... An ultimately uplifting journey from the ugliness of virulent racism to the beauty of art.