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Crossing Boundaries

“So these are my mother’s stories. Mostly they are as she told them to me and to my sisters and brothers, in a narrative that didn’t really think of itself that way. It is also, inevitably, our family’s story. Somebody has said that we only know the outlines of our lives in recollection from a distance, and that seems to me as true as anything.”

Ronne Hartfield, Excerpted from “Another Way Home”, 2003.


Crossing Boundaries,” is a musical theater show that incorporates excerpts from Ronne Hartfield’s book “Another Way Home,” with narration based on interview and documentation, visuals and music. Music ties together the text and the visuals of the production, since it has the power and immediacy to move audiences.

The show was presented with the help of The Field Museum, The Illinois Humanities Council, and The Sara Lee Coporation.

“While working on “Another Way Home,” Hartfield was approached by [Artistic Circles] Ann Feldman to turn this biography of her mother into the basis for a series documenting how racial, religious, social barriers have been surmounted in parts of this country.”

Ted Shen, Tribune Reviewer

Julia Wood Kramer conducted in-depth research into the genealogy of Hartfield’s family.

“I jumped at the change to to trace the roots of Ronnie Heartfield’s mother… I looked forward to searching African-American roots (a new territory for me), and to exploring the history of a family whose three cultures have shaped and influenced their journey to the present.”

Julia Kramer

J.J. Penna accompanies soprano Harolyn Blackwell.
Discussion with Federal Appeals Judge David Bramlette.

Press and Publications

Another Way Home: The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family, by Ronne Hartfield. University of Chicago Press, 2005.
“A warm and touching memoir of a close-knit family as well as a record of the tumultuous history of race relations in the U.S.” Booklist