Homelands and Waterways: The American Journey of the Bond Family, 1846-1926

Adele Logan Alexander

Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 0679758712 / ISBN 13: 9780679758716
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Synopsis: This monumental history traces the rise of a resolute African American family (the author's own) from privation to the middle class. In doing so, it explodes the stereotypes that have shaped and distorted our thinking about African Americans--both in slavery and in freedom.

Beginning with John Robert Bond, who emigrated from England to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War and married a recently freed slave, Alexander shows three generations of Bonds as they take chances and break new ground.

From Victorian England to antebellum Virginia, from Herman Melville's New England to the Jim Crow South, from urban race riots to the battlefields of World War I, this fascinating chronicle sheds new light on eighty crucial years in our nation's troubled history. The Bond family's rise from slavery, their interaction with prominent figures such as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, and their eventual, uneasy realization of the American dream shed a great deal of light on our nation's troubled heritage.

Review: John Robert Bond, son of a white Englishwoman and a black laborer on the Liverpool waterfront, became a sailor in the American Union Navy and married Emma Thomas, a Virginia woman born into slavery, in 1865. Chronicling their lives and those of their children and grandchildren, the author (their great-granddaughter Adele Logan Alexander) presents a dramatic family saga intertwined with a sweeping account of the black experience in America from 1846, the year of John's birth, to 1926, when Emma died at age 80. Most of the Bonds were talented, determined, and successful beyond the norm--John and Emma's progeny included a prosperous businessman and a Radcliffe graduate who was a close friend of W.E.B. Du Bois--but Alexander firmly links their story to the struggles and suffering of all African Americans, delineating with blistering matter-of-factness the galling restrictions they faced every day in every generation. Alexander, a professor of history at George Washington University, provides a bracingly unsentimental perspective on events as big as the Civil War and as seemingly small as the installation of a new sewer system in Dedham, Massachusetts. She writes American history with a refreshing difference, reminding us of the richness that oft-maligned "multiculturalism" brings to our intellectual life. --Wendy Smith

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Homelands and Waterways: The American ...
Publisher: Vintage
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: VERY GOOD

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