‘An offer of my heart’: A story of black love after the Civil War

Posted in Articles, History, Slavery, United States on 2016-09-09 16:53Z by Steven

‘An offer of my heart’: A story of black love after the Civil War

The Washington Post

DeNeen L. Brown, Reporter

One hundred and forty-four years after they were written, the civil rights advocate found the letters in the bottom of an old suitcase, stacked in thin envelopes and tied together by a faded, baby-blue ribbon.

Somebody had preserved them with such care. Laura W. Murphy opened a letter, looked at the date and gasped.

“Who has anything [written] from 1871 in their possession?” she thought.

The handwriting was exquisite, penned by her great-grandfather in ink that flowed from a quill. In all, there were 12 letters, capturing a courtship between a black man and a black woman six years after the end of the Civil War

Laura W. Murphy reads through letters between her great-grandparents, Mary Rebecca Lee and James W. Hughes, which were exchanged during Reconstruction. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

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Danielle Evans, an author straddling racial divides

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2010-10-20 21:54Z by Steven

Danielle Evans, an author straddling racial divides

Washington Post

DeNeen L. Brown, Staff Writer

It is the tale of a biracial girl who is sent by her mother one summer to visit her white grandmother. But the grandmother immediately disapproves of her daughter’s child with the brown skin and long, curly hair. “If I thought my grandmother would like me better when my mother wasn’t around, our reunion quickly disabused me of the thought… ,[Danielle] Evans reads.

The grandmother greets the girl, whose name is Tara, with an obligatory kiss, then tentatively touches her hair, which is twisted into tight cornrows.

Did your mother do this to you?” Evans reads, standing in a black sweater dress in front of a stack of her books. A small crowd spills attentively before her into the aisles.

” ‘My hair?’

” . . . ‘Mommy can’t do my hair,’ I said. ‘A girl from her school did it for her.’

” ‘I swear, even on a different continent, that woman — When you go upstairs, take them out. You’re a perfectly decent-looking child, and for whatever reason your mother sends you looking like a little hoodlum.’

” ‘I am wearing pink,’ I said, more in my own defense than in my mother’s.”

The crowd laughs nervously. Evans continues to read. Some attendees will say later that they were astounded by the maturity of Evans’s voice as a writer, by the telling of stories of characters who seem so familiar. Depending on who is listening, the characters in the collection—titled “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self“—could be a best friend or that girl down the street, but many of them are “outsiders,” says Evans, black or biracial people who are wrestling with race and the legacy of race in a so-called post-racial era…

…”Right now we have a moment with a lot of language about post-racialism and yet a lot of evidence that we are clearly not post-anything,” she says, “and there’s a lot of room for complication, contradiction and ambiguity, which is good territory for fiction.”…

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