This is a story about men whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War; newly freed men who have to fight for their liberties, hoping the federal government will come to their aid. But after a deadly racial massacre, once-proud families are left to deal with the wreckage and find the strength to push on.
Come closer. This is not a story to go down easy, and the backwash still got hold of us today. The history of a family. The history of a country. From bondage to the joy of freedom
and then back into darkness, so fearsome that don't nobody want to talk about the scary time. 1873. Wasn't no riot like they say. It was a massacre...
-From Red River.
Hailed as "powerful," "accomplished," and "spellbinding," Lalita Tademy's first novel Cane River was a New York Times bestseller and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection. Now with her evocative, luminous style and painstaking research, she takes her family's story even further, back to a little-chronicled, deliberately-forgotten time...and the struggle of three extraordinary generations of African-American men to forge brutal injustice and shattered promise into a limitless future for their children... Red River.
For the newly-freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of Reconstruction promised them the right to vote, own property-and at last control their own lives.
Tademy saw a chance to start a school for his children and neighbors. His friend Israel Smith was determined to start a community business and gain economic freedom. But in the space of a day, marauding whites would "take back" Colfax in one of the deadliest cases of racial violence in the South. In the bitter aftermath, Sam and Israel's fight to recover and build their dreams will draw on the best they and their families have to give - and the worst they couldn't have foreseen. Sam's hidden resilience will make him an unexpected leader, even as it puts his conscience and life on the line. Israel finds ironic success - and the bitterest of betrayals. And their greatest challenge will be to pass on to their sons and grandsons a proud heritage never forgotten - and the strength to meet the demands of the past and future in their own unique ways.
An unforgettable achievement, a history brought to vibrant life through one of the most memorable families in fiction, Red River is about fathers and sons, husbands and wives-and the hopeful, heartbreaking choices we all must make to claim the legacy that is ours.
Come closer. This is not a story to go down easy, and the backwash still got hold of us today. The history of a family. The history of a country. From bondage to the joy of freedom, and almost ten hopeful years drinking up the promise of Reconstruction, and then back into the darkness, so fearsome don't nobody want to talk about the scary time. Don't nobody want to remember even now, decades removed, now things better some. Why stir up all that old mess from way back in 1873? I don't hold with that point of view. I was there, watching, like all the women done, up close some of the time but mostways from a distance. They all dead and buried now. I outlast each one, using up my time on earth and some of theirs too. One hundred last birthday, trapped in this wasted body. All I do now is remember and pray the story don't get lost forever. It woulda suit Lucy fine, everybody forgetting. Lucy and me, that the only thing we usta argue about, when we was both clear-minded...
A gripping generational saga covering 60 years of Tademy's family's history up until the 1930s, as they struggle against poverty, racial attacks, and natural disasters to establish secure lives for themselves.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (790 words).
Lalita Tademy was born in
Berkeley, California, far from her
parents' southern roots. Nonetheless,
her parents made sure their household
(Louisiana West) maintained a definite
non-California edge, including a steady
supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and
collard greens, and a stream of other
transplanted southerners eager to share
their "back-home" stories.
Lalita decided early that independence and self-sufficiency trumped personal amusement, and set out with dogged determination and methodical resolve to fashion a career. Twenty years later she ...
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