Happy Birthday, Redlined! Today, April 3rd, is your special day. I feel like I should buy you a birthday hat, wrap you in colorful streamers, and sprinkle you with confetti! But you’re like the one-year-olds who smear cake all over their faces and stare goggle-eyed at the crowd singing to them—clueless.
The you, that you are, with your evocative cover thanks to Julie Metz (Finalist, btw, for a “da Vinci Eye” cover award!); you, with the lovely blurbs; you, with the acknowledgments of all those who helped me on this journey, and you, with your 300+ pages of a family story intertwined with an egregious racial injustice–you don’t even know it’s your birthday!
But I do.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
I want to take a moment here, and hope you do too, to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose murder occurred 51 years ago tomorrow, April 4th, 1968, a year of tumult across America in every sphere.
I wanted my book to be published to coincide with this tragic event, when public awareness would be heightened, so that Americans might be more open to understand the toll of racism in every area of American life, not least in the subject of redlining.
How does it feel a year later?
Mainly I feel gratitude—and amazement.
Gratitude for all my friends and colleagues who made my launch a huge success with 100+ guests!
Gratitude to the Newberry Library, where my 25 bankers’ boxes of family archives will be safe for generations to come, and to the 100 people who braved a blinding ice storm to be at my presentation at the Newberry.
Gratitude for the more than 70 reviews readers have shared on Amazon.
Gratitude to all of you who subscribe to my website to hear tidbits like this from me (I promised I wouldn’t load your inbox, and I’ve kept that promise).
Gratitude and amazement that so many people who grew up on the West Side, and remembered West Garfield Park as I did, connected with me to share their stories (and those folks from the South Side who lived through the same era, and remember the blockbusting and white flight).
Gratitude and amazement that after all the years and drafts, and edits, and honing, that people have embraced Redlined and that it touched peoples’ lives—because I wasn’t sure if it would accomplish what I’d hoped. Now I can believe it has.
Amazement because I didn’t anticipate that the most gratifying part of publishing my book would be the beautiful human connections I’ve made: with former West-siders, with people who never knew about redlining, and especially with my fellow She Writes Press (SWP) authors, a talented, supportive group. I’ve made wonderful new friends because of Redlined! I never expected that, and it’s been huge!
I highly encourage you to check out all the authors from SWP here. They write everything from fiction to memoir to spirituality. You won’t be disappointed.
So Happy Birthday, Redlined! Whether you know it or not, you’ve changed my life.
You can order Redlined below. For those who’ve already read it, thank you—and if you liked it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. I’d be most appreciative.
Redlined tells a first-hand story about a West Side Chicago family’s personal struggles and dreams intersecting with the racial upheavals of the 1960s.