Passed On is a portrait of death and dying in twentieth-century African America. Through poignant reflection and thorough investigation of the myths, rituals, economics, and politics of African American mourning and burial practices, Karla FC Holloway finds that ways of dying are just as much a part of black identity as ways of living. Gracefully interweaving interviews, archival research, and analyses of literature, film, and music, Holloway shows how the vulnerability of African Americans to untimely death is inextricably linked to how black culture represents itself and is represented. With a focus on the "death-care" industry - black funeral homes and morticians, the history of the profession and its practices - Holloway examines all facets of the burial business, from physicians, hospital chaplains, and hospice administrators, to embalming-chemical salesmen, casket makers, funeral directors, and grieving relatives. She uses narrative, photographs, and images to summon a painful history of lynchings, white rage and riot, medical malpractice and neglect, executions, and neighborhood violence. Revealing both unexpected humor and anticipated tragedy, Holloway tells a story of the experiences of black folk in the funeral profession and its clientele. She also reluctantly describes how her son's death, in the midst of her writing of this book, painfully brought her research home. Karla FC Holloway is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Duke University. She is the author of Moorings and Metaphors: Culture and Gender in Black Women's Literature and Codes of Conduct: Race, Ethics, and the Color of Our Character. Holloway is also Associate Faculty Scholar in the Duke Institute for Care at the End of Life.