City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763–1856 (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900 Ser.) by Marcus P. Nevius

City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763–1856 (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900 Ser.) by [Nevius, Marcus P.]

A well-researched look at Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina.

I am not sure that people really understand the different slave classes. This work gives us as much information as can be found about this city of refuge for runaway slaves. People today would call it living off the grid. HIding in a swamp, creating their own forms of currency and working closely with slaves and white people.

The amount of information is really quite extraordinary, as these men/women tended to leave no tracks. I can’t imagine how long this work took, but I am better for having read it.

As a descendant of the man who wrote the runaway slave act, I was deeply moved by this book.

NetGalley/ University of Georgia Press; February 8th, 2020

The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

The Undertaker's Assistant

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” 

Effie Jones, once a slave, escaped a place she can not even remember as a child.
Found outside of a Union camp and taken in as a ward for an army surgeon. The Captain and his wife taught her to read and write, also how to forget her past and how to embalm bodies.

Effie’s feelings are buried so deep she appears cold and unfeeling. Leaving Indiana and returning to the last place she remembers, New Orleans, she quickly finds employment in the Re-Construction Era, 11 years after the Civil War, with an undertaker who needs her. He is a tortured drunk and Effie does all the work.

Effie maintains a distance from the other ladies at the boarding house. Not interested in anything but work and saving money. A chance meeting with a creole young lady has her learning to be comfortable with society and going to political meetings.

Things around the South are very volatile between the races and not a lot has changed for the better. After a confrontation, Effie begins to have flashes of painful memories of a holding pen and other slaves. She decides to find out who she is and where she came from.

This was a hard book to read. Not a part of our past I am proud of but these stories need to be told. I can’t imagine not knowing something as basic as your own last name. The trials and heartbreak Effie went through only made her stronger.

An exceptionally well-told tale!

NetGalley/July 30th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

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Chariot on the Mountain by Jack Ford

Chariot on the Mountain

Once old Mastuh be dead, you be workin’ in the fields just like the rest of ’em. That day comin’ soon.” 

Based on little-known true events and brought vividly to life by Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist Jack Ford, here is an astonishing account of a time when the traditions of the Old South still thrived, a treacherous journey toward freedom–and a testament to determination, friendship, and courage. 

Kitty’s story takes place a about 20 years before the war between the states. Kitty was a real person and this story is full of historical information with some fictional conversations that may have taken place. The facts are documented very well and Mr. Ford has done a masterful job of weaving them into a believable story.

Set in Virginia, Kitty is the daughter of her master and a slave woman. She has been raised in the house, educated and allowed to have a relationship and children.

But what is going to happen when her master dies? Will his widow sell them just to not have to face her husband’s proof of infidelity?

Mary Maddox was a wonderful lady. She decides to honor her husband’s last wish which was to free Kitty and her children.
To do so she must work with the underground railroad and take Kitty and her children to freedom in Pennsylvania. Along the way the two women develop a relationship based on trust, kindness and love.

But we have to have a bad guy and that guy was the master’s own evil nephew who has no plans to let Kitty remain a free woman when she would fetch a nice price to help clear his many debts.

No sooner is Kitty a free woman than another man of color sells her out and she is beaten and tossed in a wagon and taken back home. But dear nephew has no idea what a few women on a mission can accomplish.

This book was hard to read in some parts, but true. Miraculous things happen when women get together and refuse to back down. The fact that this is some well documented history makes the story even better.  I won’t spoil any of it for you though. It is a wonderful story and I am richer for having read it!

Netgalley/Kensington July 31, 2018

Release Day for The Slave-Traders Letter Book! by Jim Jordan ( University of Georgia Press) Congratulations!

In 1858 Savannah businessman Charles Lamar, in violation of U.S. law, organized the shipment of hundreds of Africans on the luxury yacht Wanderer to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The four hundred survivors of the Middle Passage were sold into bondage. This was the first successful documented slave landing in the United States in about four decades and shocked a nation already on the path to civil war.

In 1886 the North American Review published excerpts from thirty of Lamar’s letters from the 1850s, reportedly taken from his letter book, which describe his criminal activities. However, the authenticity of the letters was in doubt until very recently. In 2009, researcher Jim Jordan found a cache of private papers belonging to Charles Lamar’s father, stored for decades in an attic in New Jersey. Among the documents was Charles Lamar’s letter book, confirming him as the author.

This book has two parts. The first recounts the flamboyant and reckless life of Lamar himself, including Lamar’s involvement in southern secession, the slave trade, and a plot to overthrow the government of Cuba. A portrait emerges at odds with Lamar’s previous image as a savvy entrepreneur and principled rebel. Instead, we see a man who was often broke and whose volatility sabotaged him at every turn. His involvement in the slave trade was driven more by financial desperation than southern defiance. The second part presents the “Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book.” Together with annotations, these seventy long-lost letters shed light on the lead-up to the Civil War from the remarkable perspective of a troubled, and troubling, figure.

As a history buff and researcher, this title appealed to me right away. I am from the Brunswick/Jekyll Island area and my family has been there since before we were a country.

Lamar is a reckless and troubled man. Having his livelihood pretty much handed to him by his father, he proceeds to run every business he touches into the ground.

The book give the reader quite a bit of information that even I haven’t seen before. These letters are a valuable piece of history not only for Georgia but for the entire country. I would hope that this information would be widely spread in our schools.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone searching for answers about our beginnings and what almost tore our country apart.

The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book by Jim Jordan ( University of Georgia Press)

n 1858 Savannah businessman Charles Lamar, in violation of U.S. law, organized the shipment of hundreds of Africans on the luxury yacht Wanderer to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The four hundred survivors of the Middle Passage were sold into bondage. This was the first successful documented slave landing in the United States in about four decades and shocked a nation already on the path to civil war.

In 1886 the North American Review published excerpts from thirty of Lamar’s letters from the 1850s, reportedly taken from his letter book, which describe his criminal activities. However, the authenticity of the letters was in doubt until very recently. In 2009, researcher Jim Jordan found a cache of private papers belonging to Charles Lamar’s father, stored for decades in an attic in New Jersey. Among the documents was Charles Lamar’s letter book, confirming him as the author.

This book has two parts. The first recounts the flamboyant and reckless life of Lamar himself, including Lamar’s involvement in southern secession, the slave trade, and a plot to overthrow the government of Cuba. A portrait emerges at odds with Lamar’s previous image as a savvy entrepreneur and principled rebel. Instead, we see a man who was often broke and whose volatility sabotaged him at every turn. His involvement in the slave trade was driven more by financial desperation than southern defiance. The second part presents the “Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book.” Together with annotations, these seventy long-lost letters shed light on the lead-up to the Civil War from the remarkable perspective of a troubled, and troubling, figure.

As a history buff and researcher, this title appealed to me right away. I am from the Brunswick/Jekyll Island area and my family has been there since before we were a country.

Lamar is a reckless and troubled man. Having his livelihood pretty much handed to him by his father, he proceeds to run every business he touches into the ground.

The book give the reader quite a bit of information that even I haven’t seen before. These letters are a valuable piece of history not only for Georgia but for the entire country. I would hope that this information would be widely spread in our schools.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone searching for answers about our beginnings and what almost tore our country apart.

Netgalley/University of Georgia Press  January Release.

What’s up for today’s reading?

I am looking forward to reading this one! And so far it’s not disappointing me.

What are you reading today? Miss Charli Ava is reading a book that she will be reviewing tomorrow, so there’s something to look forward to as she is about as unfiltered as a child could be.

 

xx Patricia

The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks

The Orphan Mother: A Novel

Mr. Hicks has given us more of “The Widow of the South” with “The Orphan Mother”.

The year is 1867. The war is over and the South is having to adjust, including Mariah Reddick, former slave to Carrie McGavock–the “Widow of the South”. Mariah is a free woman now. She is dependent on no one and has her own home and a thriving Midwife business. She tells herself that she built the town of Franklin, Tennessee by delivering all of those lives into the world

Her only child, Theopolis, has made a name for himself as a cobbler and has ambitions that scare Mariah. He wants to be in politics and it scares Mariah to death for her child.

The book also introduces George Tole. He has never been a slave. From New York, he has always been a freeman. Quiet and secretive, no one knows too much about him or why he moved to Franklin.

When Mariah’s worst fear comes true and her son is killed, she moves back to Carrie’s and sets out on a journey to discover who murdered her son and why.

A very timely account of what times were like, not only during the summer of 1867, but all  of these things and more were happening all over the south.

As someone who grew up in the deep south during segregation and integration this was difficult to read. Because I know these things happened and it was a painful reminder.

However, I think we need to be reminded that some things may have changed, but not enough. These things and more are still happening you either don’t hear about them or choose to ignore what doesn’t concern you.

I would definitely recommend this book and I will read it again. Release Date: September 13, 2016.

I received this book from Netgalley ad the publisher in exchange for an honest review..

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Hicks has been active in the music industry in Nashville for twenty years as both a music publisher and artist manager. The driving force behind the perservation and restoration of the historic Carnton plantation in Tennessee, he stumbled upon the extraordinary role that Carrie McGavock played during and after the Battle of Franklin. He is the author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.Robert Hicks