x, 420 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps, facsimiles ; 24 cm
Maps on lining papers.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 353-404) and index.
Prologue: I am the true vine -- Sit down and shut up -- White peoples is hateful -- And still the cry against us continues -- Your momma is dead -- Some serious secrets -- A paying proposition -- He who hustleth while he waiteth -- Comma, colored -- The prodigal sons -- Not one single, solitary, red penny -- Adultery's siamese twin -- Housekeeping! -- Practically imbeciles -- Very good old colored woman -- Wilbur and John -- God is good to me -- Epilogue: markers.
Beth Macy, master chronicler of life in the South, combines exhaustive research, exclusive interviews and sources, and attention to detail in this riveting American story about race, greed, and a mother's love. George and Willie Muse from Truevine, Virginia were two little boys born in a brutal time, sharecropping a field in the segregated South, stolen away by a white man offering candy, and set on a path of events that would forever change their lives--and their family's destiny.-- adapted from dust jacket.
A true story of two albino African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a decades-long struggle to find them and to get justice for her family. The year was 1899, and the old people told the story: the place, a sweltering tobacco community in the Jim Crow South called Truevine, where everyone they knew was either a former slave or a child or grandchild of slaves. Though the narrative of George and Willie Muse has been passed down for over a century, no writer has ever gotten this close to the beating heart of their story and its mysteries: Were they really kidnapped and put into servitude by the circus? How did their mother, a black maid toiling under the harsh restrictions of segregation, bring them home? And why, after getting there, would they ever want to go back? At the height of their fame, the Muse brothers performed for British royalty and headlined more than a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were fine musicians and global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success hinged on the color of their skin and on the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even 'Ambassadors from Mars." Beth Macy is a master chronicler of life in the South, and her exclusive interviews and sources make for a riveting American story about race, greed, and a mother's love. These were two little boys born in a brutal time, sharecropping a field in the segregated South, stolen away by a white man offering candy, and set on a path of events that would forever change their lives--and their family's destiny.--Adapted from dust jacket.
Two brothers, a kidnapping, and a mother's quest : a true story of the Jim Crow South
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