The good news is that my book will be published next April-2018. Hooray!!
The bad news is – getting a book ready to be published is a grind!
I’m lucky to have a wonderful publisher in She Writes Press. @BrookeWarner and her team are great at advising us Spring Authors on all the myriad of details that are required to birth a book into the world-and it is labor.
Labor as in work. Labor as in the effort, concentration, and even the pain and push of getting a book out there. Just glad I have a good coach. Keep telling me, “Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.” Deeply.
The other good news is that I have a name for my baby: Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. I like it.
It encapsulates in a few words the core of the book: what it was like to watch our community fracture. As blacks moved into West Garfield Park, life-long friends of ours moved away. The congregation of Bethel Church, my family church since the 1920s, was decimated. From a once vibrant, full church, only about 35 die-hards, mostly elderly people and our family, remained. Between 1965 and 1968, two riots occurred in our commercial district and another farther away. The area of Madison and Pulaski was a charred ruin, huge swaths burned to the ground.
When the first blacks moved onto our block in 1963, my family stayed, and for the first time, we got to know African Americans, and previous stereotypes were replaced by the complex nature of human beings; neighbors we were happy to have.
My parents didn’t sell their small apartment buildings as most whites did. They chose to spend the next twenty years devoted to their tenants and property-in a fractured and devastated the landscape.
So this is my parents’ story too: how they staked their future on a rooming house in West Garfield Park, but the future didn’t turn out the way they had expected.
How about you? When have historical or other forces beyond your control changed the outcome of your expectations?
Keep an eye on this space. I plan to blog sneak previews from the book to give you an insider’s view of what’s coming. You’ll find out about Chicago’s West Side from the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, and beyond, the racist housing policies that destroyed neighborhoods nationwide, and the family dynamics that strained a marriage to the breaking point.