Cane River is an isolated community that lies on a small river in central Louisiana. There in the early 19th century, slaves, free people of color, and Creole French planters lived and worked, loved and bore children. And there, 165 years later, Tademy discovers her amazing heritage. Beginning with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave owned by a Creole family, Tademy chronicles four generations of strong, determined black women.
"struggled to finish"
They were women whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War, and who grappled with the contradictions of emancipation through the turbulent early years of the 20th century. Through it all, they fought to unite their family and forge success on their own terms.
For the newly freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of Reconstruction promised the right to vote, to own property, and, at the very least, control over their own lives. However, in the space of a day, angry whites took back Colfax in one of the most brutal incidents of racial violence in Southern history. Now, in the bitter aftermath, the Tademys and the Smiths will have to deal with the wreckage, push on, and build a better life for their sons and daughters over the next 70 years.
"Stilted, painful for the listener"
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his 10th birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals.
"Who Knew Native Americans Owned Slaves?"