The year is 1964 and Carl Gordon is an ill-prepared New York Assistant U.S. Attorney who has lied his way into a transfer to Stockville, Alabama, where he is supposed to monitor and enforce the Civil Rights Act.
In a matter of days, the Ku Klux Klan takes aim at him, the outside agitator. Carl has agreed to represent Oleatha Geary, a black family matriarch who has inherited a mansion in an all-white, race-restricted neighborhood. Carl and Oleatha are engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. It’s anyone’s guess who will survive multiple assassination attempts, let alone whose integrity will remain intact.
Carl’s 12-year-old son, John, is unwelcome on Stockville’s white basketball team because of who his father is, and it seems there’s nowhere else for him to play. But ever-resourceful and impulsive Carl makes other plans for John, unwittingly putting John’s life, and the life of his new teammates, at risk. Ultimately, the young players don’t care as much about color lines as they do the lines on the basketball floor.
Praise for Black Hearts White Minds and Mitch Margo
“As I read Black Hearts White Minds, I was reminded by turns of Harper Lee, Willie Morris, and John Grisham. Like Grisham, Mitch Margo is an attorney; like Morris, he’s a former journalist, and like Lee, his writing is evocative with a moral center straight and true.” -Richard H. Weiss, Former Daily Features Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The early sixties are often thought of as a time of lost innocence. Margo reminds us that the era was anything but innocent in the American south. His novel rings with authenticity and his characters’ struggles in the fictional town of Stockville, Alabama foretell the problems we still face today. Stockville is not really so far from Ferguson.” -Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
From three generations of diary entries, follow the drama and intrigue in the lives of two families as they look to the future in a sometimes unfair America.
The Coffey family begins with black Civil War soldier Tanin Coffey, and his son, Tanin Jr., who struggled to survive as they came to grips with a postwar South, the failures of reconstruction, and the Great Depression.
The story continues with Darius Coffey, a World War II veteran, who moved to Florida to work for a group smuggling drugs from Latin America to the United States. His wife, Leona Mihan Coffey, reveals her family’s lies and secrets.
Daryl Christopher was raised by his Cuban mother and served in the Vietnam War before returning to Miami. After he becomes involved in organized crime, he meets Darius and Leona’s daughter Valarie and both of their lives are forever changed, as the next generation finds a place in the world, while making sense of their family’s tangled web.
Watch the video introduction for The Wicker Diary by Wil Harris, go here.
Excerpt: The Wicker Diary by Wil Harris
Hand of the Lord Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you. -Zechariah 3:1-2
Darius D. Coffey: Part I
My name is Darius D. Coffey, and I was born in the heart of the segregated south on September 12, 1923, in Opelika, Alabama. I entered this world disposed to debt bondage, where acquired liability passed from one generation to the next. My story begins with my granddaddy Tanin Coffey Sr. He signed his name with an X on the contract for a piece of land that he would never own but would finally, one day, rest his body in.
My father always spoke of my granddaddy and the wisdom his life left behind. He was a slave who fled the Alabama cotton fields in 1863 after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation left the South in an uproar.
There is no record of his birth, but it is believed he was between fifteen to seventeen years of age when he escaped slavery. He made his way to Ohio by underground trails and safe houses, dodging slave trackers, and Confederate soldiers along the way. After shuffling through northeast Ohio for a few months, he found himself in West Virginia, where he got by on Christian charity and the efforts of a local abolitionist movement.
He slept in a bed for the first time in West Virginia. Before that it had been dirt floors and hay. He never knew his mother and father or any other family. He grew up among other slaves, who all spoke with different dialects from their region of the African continent and who all suffered the lash and worked at the pleasure of their owner. Granddaddy often thought about Boss Tom, who, as the overseer of the plantation in Alabama, was a brutal white man. Described as tall and burley, he had no troubles hanging any slave-man, woman, or child.
As rumor of the Emancipation Proclamation spread, revolt was at hand. More than 130 slaves rose up, including my grandfather, and killed the master and his family. My grandfather would tell the story of the main house going up in flames while white bodies hung burning in the apple orchard by the dozens. It was Boss Tom’s death that brought the most pleasure. He was alive when they castrated him with broken glass. Someone cut out his tongue and shoved his gentiles down his throat with a stick. He was finally hung from a banister of the main house before it was set on fire.
By this time the North was losing the war, and there was talk that President Lincoln would be raising a black regiment. When my granddaddy heard this, it was all he could think of. He reckoned if he and other black men fought bravely to end the war and bring the country back together, they could have a new and equal start in America. It was as though the ancestors were calling to him from the other side of the sun. Though he could not visualize it, he knew that it was there. Freedom. He had no one who had gone before him to prepare the way so his path was a mystery.
In 1864 he joined the all-black Twenty-Seventh US Infantry. My father would speak proudly of the time granddaddy heard Frederick Douglass speak at an army assembly: “Your granddaddy told me that when Frederick Douglass walked into the hall, there was a hush throughout. With his fiery-white hair and beard, he looked like a king. He told those in attendance that now was their time, and the future of all Negros rested on their shoulders. And those words had an effect on your granddaddy and he never forgot it.”
My granddaddy’s initial experience with army life was that of manual labor. In four months he went from cooking to digging graves for slain white soldiers. The carnage and blood he witnessed heightened his eagerness for glory and honor. There was a fear growing among the black soldiers that the North may lose the war before their opportunity to prove themselves would come. There was skepticism among some Northern white soldiers on how their black counterparts would fair in battle. Many said they didn’t have the discipline to stand and fight in an organized way or the sense to take and follow orders. Everyone got their answer in Virginia in 1864. My grandfather’s first skirmish was fought on a hillside.
A fresh snow had fallen the night before, which made it difficult for him to get his footing while shelling from the Confederate guns tore through the tall trees ahead as they advanced. Men were being shot down all around him as he marched forward. A Confederate bullet passed through his shirt, nicking his left side. He went down to one knee as the burning sensation took over. They were ordered to load weapons. He had done the drill hundreds of times but never to the thud of bullets hitting flesh. He tore open the powder and poured it down the rifle shaft. After dropping a single ball, he quickly packed it. “Fire,” the officers ordered, and he did. Read the rest of this entry »
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LOVE AND REDEMPTION SERIES – The truth will set you free beginning with “Charge of an Angel.” Because you are silent does not mean the world does not hear you screaming. “Charge of an Angel” the first book of the “Love and Redemption Series” is about getting to understand God, love, sex and spirituality. Children grow up eventually and we they pack their clothes to leave home; the world has no clue what they are carrying in their suitcases.
Charge of an Angel (Love and Redemption Series Book 1) by Linda Diane Wattley
My name is Leona Tillard and I need your help. You see, I have been spending my whole life trying to know who I am. I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and a product of a temporary single-parent home, I was left without some pertinent information that could have possibly told me who I am. Eventually, still a child, my family structure evolved into a blended family situation. In silence, I cried far more than I laughed.
Don’t get me wrong, there was much love for me. I learned early in life that I was a very special little girl. People loved being in my presence, but more than anything, my body was always desired. I didn’t want for anything, life was good to me, I just didn’t understand love and what is considered being a normal human being. This is where I need your help. Will you listen to me as I tell you my story about my life? Tell me who really loved me. Am I really an angel or a freak of nature? Your help will be highly appreciated. In return, I promise to entertain you from beginning to end. Below find one of my thought processing moments. It came during a time I needed understanding. Until we meet, enjoy!
My body was betraying me in the worst way. “Oh, God, help me! I face you now in my naked and weakened state and beg you to save me.” I prayed silently.”
Customer Review 5.0 out of 5 stars By Cold Coffee
Charge Of An Angel is book one in Linda Diane Wattley’s series titled Love and Redemption.
This is an important quote directly from the book: “Charge of an Angel will reveal why the urgent questioning of sexuality from the home to the pulpit. The children in this story have a lot to show us, let’s get started. They are anxious to share their stories even their parents are going to be in awe when they see who they really are.”
Character Leona Tillard will touch your heart as you read her childhood account. I am certain that as you read this book, you will either relate to some of the family dynamics from your own life or you might know a family with similar dynamics. Sadly, families usually look wholesome and intact when viewed by an outsider. However, when you pull back the layers like an onion, the raw truth can burn your soul. In Leona’s story, her family has many layers and although she felt loved as child, her perceptions were from a child’s point of view.
Right from birth (like you and me) Leona was set on a path and her encounters wrote on the pages of her life’s story and deep in her heart and soul. The most telling thing that you will discover as you read, is Leona’s perception of herself, her deep questions and even conflicting messages that cause her to even question God. For children who grown up in a dysfunctional home, this is how they think. I quote not to spoil the story, but to enlighten you so you will want to read further.
“We didn’t hear any more words after that. Sarah and I were just as quiet as Daddy and Priscilla. In fact, Sarah was already asleep. I could hear snoring from across the room, which was something she normally didn’t do. I couldn’t believe what I had seen between her and Daddy. I closed my eyes and tried to will myself somewhere other than where I was. I couldn’t help but wonder where my brother and my mother were. This new family thing just did not make me happy at all. I mean, trying to know myself was hard enough without this family mix. One minute I had a mother and then I had no mother. I had a big brother, then no big brother. Now I have two sisters and a brother to go with the one I already had. We were all lost and confused. We just wanted to know where we belonged.
After that night, we did what we had to do to keep Priscilla and Daddy happy. Nobody cared how we felt. This life was about them. None of us should have been born. We had no parents. All of us were victims of circumstance. We were just sheep—sleeping, eating, and doing what we were told. If Daddy and Priscilla hadn’t gotten married, maybe Momma and Mark might have come back. We could forget about ever seeing them now.”
While reading I was faced with the core truths written on the pages and maybe more importantly between the lines. I wait for Book Two to be published, as I will need to find out where it goes from here. I invite you to read and open your heart and eyes to children around you in your life. This book has adult content.
Ellis and The Hidden Cave
by Aryeh and Cerece Rennie Murphy
An Ancient Civilization An Underwater World And A New Quest for the StoneKeeper!
Ellis, Toro and Freddye are at it again in the 2nd book in the Ellis Monroe Series Early Reader Chapter Book! Join them as they explore a hidden world, face more nasty Bugabols and discover that there are many kinds of superpowers! Ellis and The Hidden Cave is book 2. Ellis and the Magic Mirror is book 1 in the early reader series. Join the Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/ellisandthemagicmirror/
Excerpt from Ellis and The Hidden Cave
Chapter 1 Spring Break!
“Hurry up! Recess ends in one minute,” his teammates shouted from the sidelines. Sprinting ahead, Ellis Monroe caught up with the soccer ball and turned toward the goal. To his right, Ellis saw Max Washington running toward him. Ellis knew that Max wanted him to pass the ball, so that Max could try to score for the win. Max thought he was the best player on his team and always let everyone know it. But Ellis thought a pass would be too risky. Instead, seeing an opening on the field, Ellis quickly dribbled forward. Suddenly, Kevin Taylor appeared and bumped Ellis, trying to steal the ball away. Ellis kicked the ball, hard, and watched as it sailed toward the goal. And out of bounds.
Max came charging up to Ellis. “What’d you go and do that for?” he yelled, as several kids joined them.
“Are you trying to lose the game?” Omar Mendez said. “Yeah, Ellis, did you forget where the goal is?” asked Nate Weaver, and a few kids laughed.
Ellis flushed as the children closed in on him. He looked around at the group of kids and wished his best friend Toro Quispe wasn’t at home sick today. “Cut it out, guys,” said Ellis, looking around for a teacher. Max moved closer to Ellis. “You should have passed me the ball!” he said. “I would have scored.” “It was a mistake. Just drop it, Max, okay?” Ellis said.
“I should drop kick you,” Max replied, putting his face just inches away from Ellis.
“Back off, Max!” Ellis yelled, but Max stepped closer. “It’s just a game!” he said, then pushed Max away from him.
Max stumbled backward, then tripped on his feet and fell. “You pushed me!” he shouted, scrambling to his feet. Just then, Mrs. Lee appeared out of nowhere and Max ran straight to her just as the recess bell rang. Ellis hung his head, wondering how much trouble he was going to be in.
When Ellis and his younger sister Freddye got home from school, both their parents were waiting for him in the living room. “Ellis, we got a call from the principal today,” his dad said quietly. Ellis looked from one parent to another, tears pricking the back of his eyes. “I was only trying to defend myself,” Ellis explained. “I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.”
Mrs. Monroe walked over and gently put her hand on Ellis’ head. “Why don’t you sit down and tell us what happened,” she said. Ellis put his book bag down then sat on the couch, with Freddye trailing closely behind. “I accidentally kicked the ball out of bounds and some of the kids got mad,” Ellis said. “I know Max wanted me to let him score, but he always hogs the ball and I saw an opening!” Ellis looked down. “But I missed.”
“And then?” his father prompted.
“Max got really mad and started yelling at me. And some of the other kids said stuff too.” Ellis sniffed. “And there were no teachers, and not even Toro was there. But then Max got in my face and said he should ‘drop kick me’. I got mad and a little scared, too so I pushed him away.”
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