The origins of the Jim Crow era date back to the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Many practices and laws established the new order of racial separation after slavery. Could anyone have imagined the laws devised to transition the country would still be in practice almost one hundred years later?
Trying to understand how people lived, and why, became an important exercise. What better way to learn than to ask the people who lived it. A team of researchers set out to gain insight into how a way of life for the newly freed slaves in the 1870’s was passed on to the next generation and the next. Due to fear and for self-preservation, “Don’t fight the system,” became the mantra of the Jim Crow South until one generation began to question why. A movement away from compliance began as they courageously challenged the system.
In Silent Ties we see the transition. Miss Ada was taught to accept and conform. She didn’t fight the system but demonstrated total acceptance. Her son James began to question the status quo. He took a step forward when visitors came to town preaching about the right to vote. But even in his generation we see a fear so deeply ingrained that he returned home to compliance. It will be Addie and her peers who say, “I want more; I deserve more; and I will succeed in winning the right to have more.” In the final chapter we see what they accomplished through the proud life Addie and Henry built once they were free from the past.
I invite you to visit “Not Your Typical Book Club!” to read “What’s mine is not yours.” I encourage you to delve into the real-life history of the people who lived during that time through their stories recorded in Remembering Jim Crow.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana