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My Confederate Kinfolk: A Twenty-First Century Freedwoman Discovers Her Roots
Starting with a photograph and some writings left by her grandmother, Thulani Davis goes looking for the "white folk" in her family-a Scots-Irish family of cotton planters unknown to her-and uncovers a history far richer and stranger than she had ever imagined. When Davis's grandmother died in 1971, she was writing a novel about her parents, Mississippi cotton farmers who ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published January 9th 2006 by Basic Civitas Books
(first published January 1st 2000)
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Aug 11, 2012 Christa rated it really liked it · review of another edition
The status of women endured years of hardships long before the South enslaved African Americans. Reserved only to men, women did not enjoy the options of true independence, universal suffrage and property ownership. To deter sovereignty, laws to stop African-American Freedwomen from truly embracing their freedom sprouted throughout the South after the Civil War. “The racial conventions of the day maintained by the same kind of force used during antebellum times, meant that she was subject to the ...more
Novelist Thulani Davis investigates her forbears, both black and white, in Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi. Knowing little about Reconstruction, the book was both eye-opening and depressing. I confess to getting pretty lost sometimes in the family trees--Davis' research was *so* thorough! The relations between masters and slaves were especially sad. Instances of genuine affection could hardly be possible in such power situations, and yet, in letters and quotes, the distorted affection is ...more
I found this book online while I was searching for my family's tartan, of all things! It's a story about a black woman who is intrigued by a photo of her grandmother as a child dressed in full tartan regalia. Why would a black girl in southern Mississippi in 1887 be dressed this way? This book is her search to discover why and how she discovers it is because of the love between her great-grandmother and the wealthy white man that the worked for thus opening all the wounds between black and white ...more
Jul 08, 2016 Sandy D. rated it really liked it
Really interesting memoir by an African-American author about her family during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Sometimes the parts about different battles got tedious, but the people involved made the narrative pick up again. The interracial relationships were fascinating, and Davis' speculations about her great-grandmother (a former slave), her great-grandfather (scion of a plantation owning family), and her grandmother were intriguing.
Wow--Thulani Davis researched two sets of ancestors from the Civil War era--both slaves and slaveowners. As a genealogy buff, she has an amazing collection of info she was able to compile--with depth--in a period of time where it's not always easy to get info. And I really liked the way she wove the data together to create a narrative. Not always a pleasant story, as can be imagined, but gripping, and a real slice of American history.