Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Out with some Old and in with some New

Shortly after starting my break from blogging back in late July I trimmed some fat from my personal library. There were a number of books, both on my shelves and still in storage boxes, that I had not looked at for ages and did not see needing in the future. I probably should have weeded them out sooner due to the space they took up and the money I made selling them. Thank goodness for Half-Price Books.

Of course, getting rid of many made room for some new ones. I felt quite fortunate to receive several of these as gifts for my birthday and Christmas. I've read the first three and was very pleased with all of them.

Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom were Made at the Racetrack, as you might imagine, has a lot of Kentucky connections, but ultimately the book shows the evolution of the role of black jockeys, trainers, and grooms from colonial times into the early twentieth century. It is a very interesting look at how a certain degree of power was able to be realized by black men due to their knowledge, skills and abilities in the equine industry.

Cooking in Other Women's Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960 provides a look into the lives of African American cooks and cleaning women. These women's real accounts add much Hollywood's attempt from a couple of years ago, The Help. The hours, blood, sweat, tears, and worry these women put into preparing meals, taking care of other people's families, and all for often poor pay and sometimes in horrible working conditions, is a real eye-opener. 

I initially thought that Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery was going to a genealogist approach to finding long-lost ancestors. However, it was more about the great lengths that former slaves went to try to reconnect with family members who had been sold or moved away. Into the late nineteenth century freedmen and freedwomen placed newspaper advertisements seeking loved ones. Many asked that these ads be read in church or at other civic events in hopes that a reunion might be made. Most separated families were never brought back together, but the author highlights some success stories that are truly inspirational.

I'm really looking forward to reading the next three shown here. Hopefully, I can get a review of each posted in the near future. 

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