Ophelia Marie Horton Back to Madison Street

ISBN 13: 9781425760502

Back to Madison Street

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Back to Madison Street Again is the memoir of a young girl who came of age in a small, predominately African American community in upstate Illinois during the mid-1900s. Set in Freeport, a working-class community, located along the Illinois Central Railroad and the Pecatonica River, whose residents had migrated to the area from the South in search of a better way of life. They fled the South in groves because of its long-standing association with slavery and segregation. When they settled Northern Illinois/, they found that the reach of segregation extended northward past the Mason-Dixon Line. Horton writes about the impact her relatives and neighbors made upon her life. She recalls the integral role the Illinois Central Railroad had on the economic life of the community, and how the company affected the local environment. The railroad company was more than an engine of capitalist industry. It literally saved people's lives. ICR, as it was known in corporate America, provided employment in the community and helped to ferry residents throughout the area. Many people used the coal that was left from fueling the freight trains that dropped from the boxcars on the tracks .This helped to heat their homes. Sometimes fruits would fall from overstocked passing trains, and some impoverished residents would have a nutritious windfall. The train is poignant to the author not only for the economic boon the railroad company provides to the community or the occasional coal and fruit droppings. Her mother left the family, and it was rumored that she caught the train. The author often found herself musing about whether the absentee mother who supposedly left on the train would return in like manner. The omnipresent specter of her mother's return and the financial import of the Illinois Central Railroad cause the constant reminder of the train to become an important part of the author's young life. The father is left alone to provide for his brood. The author would eventually leave

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I was born in Freeport, Illinois on Madison Street. The community in which I was grew up consisted of an extended family of aunts, cousins, and all types of neighbors who mostly worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. My family moved back and forth off and on Madison Street, during my lifetime, at least four times. Most of my relatives and neighbors excluding my father worked for the railroad. I truly believe we are the sum of our life experiences. The experiences I received from neighborhood of Madison Street impacted my life. There were happy times, sadness, and lots of love coming from the people of that street and the neighboring streets, but most of all there were rewarding lessons in life.

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9781425760595: Back to Madison Street

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ISBN 10:  1425760597 ISBN 13:  9781425760595
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation, 2008
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