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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
White Woman Black Heart is Barbara Miller’s inspirational memoir that chronicles her journey to political and spiritual awakening and also shares her involvement in helping the Mapoon people resettle in Mapoon in 1974. In 1963, the Queensland government forcefully moves the Mapoon Aboriginal Community from their land to make way for mining activities. Their houses are burnt to the ground to prevent them from ever resettling there. Meanwhile, Miller leaves home and joins the University of Queensland in 1970 where she participates in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. This marks the beginning of her participation in political and social reforms. In Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Miller connects with black communities and supports rallies and efforts for their rights. Through Miller and her companions’ efforts, the Mapoon people move back to their land in 1974 but the journey is far from over at this point, and Miller continues to fight for the Aboriginal groups’ rights through various councils, sometimes facing possible arrest and indictment.
White Woman Black Heart by Barbara Miller presents parts of the history of modern Australia while covering Miller’s personal story. It provides insight into the formative years that saw a sweep of social reformation on the continent. Largely, the book sheds light on the suffering of Aboriginal groups who were constantly persecuted and denied their rights. Barbara Miller inspires courage and compassion. The fact that she was willing to face arrest, as in the case where she is arrested in Canberra due to handing out anti-draft leaflets, proves her commitment to the course. At various points in her life, she takes time to associate and connect with people from various groups and who come from different backgrounds than hers. As the world continues to struggle against ethnic and racial discrimination, White Woman Black Heart shows what is possible when we are willing to love and accept diversity.