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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

What an eye-opener!

I received a public education from nursery school (what we now call pre-K) until I graduated from high school in 1974. I thought I was well educated. This book revealed a version of history I couldn't have imagined and was never taught.

Once I began writing our family's application to the National Register of Historic Places, I saw how many different versions of family "history" there were. It was my husband's family actually - mine only by marriage. I'd heard many stories about the family's past from brothers and sisters, grandmother, aunts, uncles and neighbors. Of course, I had my own version of recent family history, but I felt as if I knew "Goggles", the young man who wore thick glasses and lived in the tenant house under three massive oaks on the upper edge of the "gully" pasture. I knew about the young man who fell in the well in the "back back" pasture and had seen the fescue seeds scattered where they had dried on the floor of the house where Goggles lived. I knew about Floyd's broken ankles (both at once) after his brothers dared him to jump out of the hayloft of the old barn where they were sneaking a smoke. So many stories...notebooks full. And yet, as I tried to keep within the word limits of the application, I realized some stories couldn't be included. I had to choose. Whose stories? What made the farm historic?

That's when I realized that many of the stories included the same events and characters, so I decided to look for the "overlap". What part of the story stood out to all the storytellers? That's where I found the important stories. So what does this have to do with The Other Slavery?

I was an "outsider" writing a family's history. Every story I collected had been told from the perspective of someone in the family. I recorded them all, but each individual knew only their own version of the story. As the writer, I got to pick which stories were recorded. I had to consciously select what others would read about our family.

Thank you to this author for choosing to tell these stories, for revealing this perspective. It was not included in the history books I studied.

It's not an easy read, but it's an eye=opening perspective of history. Enjoy!!!

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