From Publishers Weekly
Historian Sumler-Edmond's book spotlights a mostly forgotten property dispute in 19th-century Savannah, Ga., that erupted into a legal quagmire revealing a clandestine agreement between a matronly free woman of color and a young white man. The Cruvelliers, free mulattoes from Santo Domingo, arrived in Georgia in 1800, fleeing the turmoil of the Haitian revolution; Aspasia built a successful business, but prohibited from purchasing property as a black person, she enlisted George Cally to make the bid and down payment with her money. The arrangement worked well—a romantic attachment between Aspasia's daughter and Cally is hinted at—but when mother and daughter died, the family lost their two closest links to Cally, who claimed sole ownership. Sumler-Edmond recreates the battle of the heirs with a wealth of research, legal documentation, trial records and local history. This carefully speculative history is heavy going at times, but scholars will find this chip in the monolithic view of antebellum Southern life worthy of attention, while general readers may want to wait for the novel this ought to inspire. (Nov.)
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"....provides an insightful glimpse into the community of Santo Domingo immigrants and their descendants in nineteenth-century Savannah, Georgia." --Journal of American History
, September 2009
".... an interesting account of a remarkable woman of color .... offers readers a well-structured and thoroughly argued presentation of a part of history still overlooked and long forgotten." --H-Net, June 2009