Only hours after I squinted up at my mother’s face in the delivery room, she was gone.
So begins the remarkable life story of CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller, 55. The daughter of a clandestine affair between a married Black physician and a white coworker of Mexican heritage, Miller was abandoned by her mother soon after her birth — in part, because of the color of her skin.
In her new memoir, Belonging: A Daughter’s Search for Identity Through Loss and Love, Miller, cohost of CBS Saturday Morning, describes how she’s tried to make sense of her blurry beginnings, the nurturing community of people who raised her in South Central Los Angeles and made her whole — as well as the challenge of trying to find her place in a world in which she was “both too brown to be white and too light … to be unquestioningly embraced as a Black girl.”
It’s a deeply personal story, powerfully told.
Miller, who has two children and is married to former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial (now president of the National Urban League), also offers empowering words for those still trying to find their way. “You don’t have to be defined by your origin story,” she said in a recent interview with AARP. “You can create the life you want.”
Here’s more from our interview with the author:
Why did you decide to share your story?
After George Floyd’s murder [in 2020], I was asked to do a retrospective piece of my coverage of social justice issues over the last 30 years for CBS This Morning. I was living in South Central Los Angeles in 1992 when the riots took place after four officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. I told this arc of a story, and in the middle of this three-and-a-half-minute piece, for about 20 seconds, I segued into how racism has affected me since the day I was born. I said something like, “I was born to a father and grandmother who adored me and a mother who, to this day, does not acknowledge my existence.”
People were writing me emails and sending texts, like, “I had no idea!” Everyone was rooting me on to do [this book].