The third Legacy book (currently untitled) continues with the theme of adjusting to life as free people. The Vance family has moved to a town settled by free Negros, fugitive slaves, and Quaker Abolitionist.
In doing my research on this town I discovered that the town itself and a number of its citizens were active conductors on the famed Underground Railroad, a detail that will no doubt add to the drama of the novel.
As you can imagine, over the last couple of weeks I have been steeped in articles and books on the subjects of fugitive slaves, free towns and the Underground Railroad. I read many harrowing accounts experienced by runaways in Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad Edited by Christine Rudisel and Bob Blaisdell.
As I end each day of research and put away my notepad and turned off my computer, I am often overwhelmed with a sense of pride. I find no shame in the fact that my ancestors were once slaves in this country. That may sound a bit strange to some people but I know some people who will not watch a movie or television show, or read a book about slavery because they are ashamed. How, I wonder, could anyone find shame in the courage of our ancestors to seek their God given right to freedom at any cost? I am no more ashamed of slavery than one of the Jewish faith would be ashamed of the Holocaust.
Instead, I am proud of the resilience, resourcefulness, and determination of my people. I pray that the characters that I create will do justice to the ancestors that lived through and survived the atrocities of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement.
F. Y. I. On Tuesday, August 2, Congressman John Lewis was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show. He was there to discuss the third book of the “March” trilogy, graphic novels which chronicle his experience in the Civil Rights Movement. What a great idea, I thought. Because graphic novels have become very popular among teens and young adults, it seems a wonderful way to teach this history to a new generation. The Congressman said that these novels are being used by a number of schools from middle to high school.
I had never heard of the novels but I am excited to purchase them for myself and my grandchildren.