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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.
Although I found this book well written & historically accurate, I could only give it a 3. I did so not because it doesn't deserve a better rating, but because I found it... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Kathie Howard
My book club and I will love reading this book. Thanks for sending it in a timely manner.Published 17 days ago by womenfor Christ
This is one of the most compelling books I have read. It answered some questions, our family had, about things that happened on their plantation, after the Civil War. Read morePublished 26 days ago by C. Lomax
a multi-generational family saga with strong female characters. I was drawn into the lives of the characters, really liked this bookPublished 1 month ago by D. Weems Jr.
My preference for non-fiction almost kept me from reading Cane River. Thank goodness the jacket indicated that this story was a fictionalized account of a woman's genealogy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brian A. Foster