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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.
This story keeps you reading and is hard to put down. It is a thoughtful and interesting account based on real events.Published 1 day ago by JK
A very interesting piece into the present and pass reasons for the "color srruck" attitiudes of our people. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Renee Ross
Deliciously and disturbingly thought provoking. We are the most free when we have the privilege of making choices. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Aaron Powner
I loved this book from the very first page to the last! I love genealogy and have worked on it for years. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Jamie L Lane
By chance I had come across Lalita Tademy's second novel -- Red River -- in a book store. Bought it, read it, and was mesmerized by it. Read morePublished 15 days ago by conradb212
Characters were beautifully written. I would highly recommend. Looking forward to more from this author to read. Thanks again for the story.Published 25 days ago by kb
I was fascinated by the author's idea, to find out as much historical fact as she could about her ancestors, then treat them as fictional characters and flesh out their lives. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Christman
I really liked the book. It was about the struggles of slavery in the South during the plantation days. It covered the stories of five generation of women.Published 1 month ago by Hattie Strong
I knew that slavery was a horrible thing that went on in our country but had no idea it was as bad as it was. This book is really an eye opener. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kathryn