An excellent book and truly explains the history of The Hairstons which is part of America's history. What began in the deplorable conditions of slavery, Jim Crow, and beyond ends on a note of triumph and hope not only for the Hairstons but for all of America in our quest for a free, just, and color blind nation.
Growing up in the deep South, there were so many Family Secrets that it was embarassing to me. I am so glad that this Author decided to write the book. I remember getting a post card way back in the early 1990's and thought it was a gimmick so I had no imput in the book. There is nothing to be ashamed of now and I hope that everyone who reads it will understand better the relationshop with us and the slaves that toiled to soil for us. Unfortunately during the aftermath of the Civil War, my branch of the Family did not have much left. Many of us have worked real hard to set things right for many who suffered. As I was growing up only small bits and pieces of our Families past were reveled to me. I always felt that I was being kept in the dark and now things have been illminated for me. Thank you for writting this book just for me.
Readers reluctant to read THE HAIRSTONS because of its similarity to Edward Ball's SLAVES IN THE FAMILY should not be dissuaded. In some ways, this is a better book.
The author Henry Wiencek provides a sometimes confusing family tree of both white and black Hairstons. Once you get used to it, you will find yourself paging back and forth trying to find the Hairston Wiencek is talking about. What I found most fascinating was how the Hairstons kept the plantations in the family. For instance, "Saura Town Peter" Hairston arranged for his daughter Ruth to marry his nephew Robert after her first husband, Peter Wilson, died young. This usually worked, but in this instance, Robert, who wanted to free his slaves against Peter's daughter's wishes, left his family. He established another Hairston dynasty in Mississippi.
When Wiencek tells us about Robert and his heirs, the book becomes fascinating. Robert fell in love with one of his slaves, having a daughter with her...
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