"What do three hundred years of African American history look like in a small, southern town? Virginia Shade depicts just that—a sometimes brutal, sometimes uplifting, but always human tapestry of two societies struggling through and beyond slavery.
African Americans have been part of the town of Falmouth’s history since its founding in 1727. Some were free, but most were slaves—an African king and princess among them. During the Civil War, thousands of slaves crossed into the Union lines at Falmouth to claim freedom for themselves. After the war, however, fundamental equality remained elusive. Falmouth’s African American children endured separate and unequal schooling during the Jim Crow era, and even the town’s cemetery was segregated.
Even so, it wasn’t a simple matter of black versus white. From a slave owner who tried but was unable to manumit her slaves to a local church’s public rebuke of a black member who’d run away from his owner, committing the sin of stealing himself, Falmouth’s history reflects the contrasting attitudes and actions among its white citizens and institutions throughout the years.
Author Norman Schools blends first-person accounts, contemporary poetry, and biblical allegory to give a vivid sense of time, place, and personal connection to Falmouth and its remarkable African American heritage."
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Published May 29, 2012