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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, August 14, 2020

New Project

I've taken on a writing project. I kind of hit fork in the road with A Private Pain, so I'm putting it on a back burner for now. 

A friend of a friend has a couple of remembrances from an ancestor. She was the daughter of a Confederate soldier during the war. Her father was killed outside of Atlanta. The first essay was about growing up and her life before the war and how things changed when her father died and the aftermath of the war. The second essay is about her mother, brother, and sister and she leaving Mississippi for California in 1870 for California. She has a great description of what she's leaving behind, the train ride across the country and interesting people they met and what it was like trying to settle in Northern California.

The gentleman wants me to bring this woman's story to life. My mind is already thinking of numerous ways to approach this, with one small hitch. This family owned slaves. She's wrote these essays in the 1930's and I'm having trouble with her reference to the slaves as "darkies."

There's no way to tell their story from having a plantation with 50 slaves and a comfortable life to losing absolutely everything, then having to start from scratch thousands of miles away and not use the term. At the time it was the genteel way of referring to slaves, but some might take exception to it today.

This is only at the very beginning of the story and most of it is about their new life in California. 

Dear readers, any thoughts?


Berthold Gambrel said...

My suggestion: put a disclaimer at the beginning to warn readers that the point is to portray the time period accurately--the good and the bad. And as such, you're including the language that people at the time used. History is often ugly, but there's no point in hiding it or sugarcoating it. It is what it is, and the reader has to judge it for themselves.

P M Prescott said...

Pretty much what I plan. This is mostly for the family, and not that marketable.