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Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage Paperback – March 30, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0807848432 ISBN-10: 0807848433 Edition: 1st

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Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage + Generations of Somerset Place: From Slavery to Freedom (Images of America)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (March 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807848433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807848432
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,249,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It is a tribute to the coauthorsD'Orso is a Virginia journalistthat Redford herself seems to be telling us this marvelous story directly, in her own clear voice. She was born into a black family of Columbia, N.C., in 1943, lived for periods in New York and, when she was 33, became a social worker in the South. She felt then the need to learn about the people she came from and began a research project that took 10 years. She discovered that although libraries and other archives contain a wealth of historical information about white familiesthe records quoted here add considerable interestthere were no black histories. She realized she had to look in county courthouses for bills of sale for slaves. There are moments of drama, high humor and sorrow in Redford's odyssey. It's a joy to share her triumph at identifying her forebears, then bringing together 2000 of their descendants in 1986. The homecoming was at Somerset Place, the plantation in North Carolina where their ancestors were slaves. Redford heads a project to rebuild Somerset as a national heritage. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC and QPBC alternates.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Alive with crisp prose, this book tells of Redford's unusual accomplishment of uniting the descendants of black slaves, some of whom were kin, on the antebellum Somerset Plantation in North Carolina where their ancestors had worked, lived, and been enslaved. The consuming passion that pushed Redford through her painful, groping search for identity yields a treasure of black struggle and survival in slavery and afterward, climaxing with a black homecoming carried nationally by the media. This poignant, personal saga of black roots and branches is recommended for Afro-American, Southern, local history, and genealogy collections. A gem. Thomas J. Davis, SUNY at Buffalo
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By mkeillor on November 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this the first time because it was a new genealogy book at my local library. More than just an engaging story about a woman's search for a heritage to pass down to her daughter, it also qualifies itself as the best "How To" on African-American Genealogy, because in the course of telling her story, Ms. Redford explains how she found her information. I recommend it all the time to friends researching African American family history.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
In this book, Dorothy Redford shows the power of tenacity and courage. She had a dream--to uncover the past, to discover the story of her enslaved ancestors--and she sacrificed and toiled until she found out the truth, bit by bit. The inspiration is that she did not stop there. Now she lives that dream by educating others, both by her book and at the plantation where she is executive director, about the reality of slavery life. I recommend this book highly to anyone who admires or hopes to immulate someone who has realized a dream.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I thought this was an excellent history of not only plantation slavery in America, but also the dedication of an individual to find out their heritage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NewtonsLawPreserved on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I could not tear myself away from this fascinating account of a modern woman tracing her African-American roots through generations of enslaved people.

The story unfolds like a real-life treasure hunt as the author chips away at the past to find her heritage. She starts with only the most rudimentary recollections from her older relatives, and without any formal training, using only Census records, within a short time she has uncovered one key name in a previously forgotten generation - a man born in slavery in 1847.

This discovery led to more research and the discovery of more and more connections as the author, using mostly self-taught genealogical methods, traced her roots in an increasingly detailed and fascinating search. I found it so compelling that I actually began to take notes so that I would enjoy every detail as I followed along the author's voyage into the past ... and the present.

The book takes the reader along this convoluted path, as if the reader is following the author from library to courthouse to historical archives. The story is full of mystery, surprise, and discovery, and as the author became more sophisticated in her search, she uncovered fascinating historical data.

Full of details about life on a plantation before -- and after -- emancipation, this book will fascinate anyone who is interested in history, genealogy, or the South.
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