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The author makes it clear exactly where these prohibitions came from. Plantation society was rigidly hierarchical, after all, particularly on the heels of the Civil War and the economic hardships that came with Reconstruction. The only permissible path upward for hard-working, ambitious African Americans was indirect. A meteoric rise, or too obvious an appearance of prosperity, would be swiftly punished. To enable the slow but steady advance of their clan, the black women of Cane River plot, plead, deceive, and manipulate their way through history, extracting crucial gifts of money and property along the way. In the wake of a visit from the 1880 census taker, the aged Elisabeth reflects on how far they had come.
When the census taker looked at them, he saw colored first, asking questions like single or married, trying to introduce shame where there was none. He took what he saw and foolishly put those things down on a list for others to study. Could he even understand the pride in being able to say that Emily could read and write? They could ask whatever they wanted, but what he should have been marking in the book was family, and landholder, and educated, each generation gathering momentum, adding something special to the brew.In her introduction, Tademy explains that as a young woman, she failed to appreciate the love and reverence with which her mother and her four uncles spoke of their lively Grandma 'Tite (short for "Mademoiselle Petite"). She resented her great-grandmother's skin-color biases, which were as much a part of Tademy's memory as were her great-grandmother's trademark dance moves. But the old stories haunted the author, and armed with a couple of pages of history compiled by a distant Louisiana cousin, she began to piece together a genealogy. The result? Tademy eventually left her position as vice president of a Fortune 500 company and set to work on Cane River, in which she has deftly and movingly reconstructed the world of her ancestors. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fairly accurate account of life of slaves during that time. Having grown up in Louisiana I could relate to the author's story as it is very similar to the stories of my own... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Lila J.
A most enlightening read. Well written. Will surely read it again, so much history deserves that.Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book was interesting from the perspective of understanding how the rigid class divisions operated in this New Orleans region well after the Civil War, how each class struggled... Read morePublished 21 days ago by KMA reader
This book is so amazing. The history. The story. The women. I didn't want it to end.Published 27 days ago by Dr Eves
Good story - but way too long - the obvious is clear what the black people had to do - it just repeats itself over and over - think it would be better to shorten this book - over... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end! I would definitely recommend!Published 2 months ago by Margaret Rios