The Road to Memphis and a Seat at the Lorraine

Oh where to begin. There is so much to say, so I’ll start at the beginning. I grew up with the Logan Family. I have been living with them since the age of nine. Periodically, throughout the years, I would return to Mississippi for a visit. If you are a Mildred D. Taylor fan like I am, then you know who I am talking about. The book, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry has always stayed with me because it was about a strong Black family who struggled to hold on to their property in the 1930s and 40s. The story reminded me so much of my own family that I was compelled to write, The Promise of Palmettos. Ms. Taylor was as much of an influence to me as my own family, so I was over the moon when she wrote Let the Circle Be Unbroken and The Road to Memphis. No wonder the Civil War/Reconstruction and World War II are my favorite eras in history.

This weekend, I was excited to finally walk in the steps, somewhat, of main character, Cassie Logan as my husband and I headed to Memphis ourselves. Although Cassie was a fictional character, I got chills as I rode along Highway 51, the same roadway she and her friends took from Jackson, Mississippi into this city (I was coming from the direction of Millington). As we made our way through Memphis, I became excited as I took in the architecture of downtown, traveling along the streets and taking in the sites I had only read about. My jubilation was quickly and abruptly squelched however, when we came across Jackie Smith at the Lorraine Motel. One may ask, “Who is Jackie Smith?” Well she is a woman. A Black woman who has set up shop across the street from the very place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. She has her folding table set up beneath an umbrella to protect her and her little pamphlets from the hot sun. Three signs are hung from her table:

1. Stop Worshipping the Past, Start Living the Dream
2. This site Honors James Earl Ray
3. Gentrification is an Abuse of Civil Liberties

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My husband and I just stood there with identical incredulous looks on our faces, taking in the foolery and watched as people passed by this woman’s table and asked questions. And she rationalized her ignorance. Ms. Smith is protesting the Lorraine Motel Historical Monument. She refuses to enter the museum because she feels that it goes against everything Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for. Instead of preserving the site, she feels that the motel should be low income housing. Therefore, she has sat at her perch, across the street for – wait for it – The past. Twenty-three. Years. I have to say that my problems with Jackie Smith are so huge that I am going to have to address her and her little signs one by one.

1. Stop Worshipping the Past, Start Living the Dream
To me, history isn’t something with which to dwell, but to learn from and be inspired by. Although Cassie Logan was a fictional character, her experiences with segregation and discrimination were very much real. To forget, is disrespectful. Let me say that again. To forget is disrespectful. It is disrespectful to discount the past sacrifices made that got us to this point in history. It is on the shoulders of our ancestors that we stand. So Miss Lady thinks that the site of Martin Luther King’s death all paved over and white washed would serve his legacy better? According to her, we are forgetting his dream. Excuse me? So instead of working to help the people that she feels this site should have been for, this lady sits there and hands out pamphlets that spout her ignorance. Meanwhile, people who gather at her table are seeking her permission to forget about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. My husband and I hear the murmurings, “She’s got a point,” from the crowd as she is telling the public, with her protest, that it is okay for them to not acknowledge that era of our American History. If we people of color do not remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who fought for our Civil Rights, why should everyone else? And if we don’t, who will? If madam has ever read a history book, listened to the stories of her ancestors, and gotten over herself, she would know that Black people, even before Martin Luther King, Jr., knew that to be successful in this country, they had to have an education (vocational or formal) in order to be elevated to the middle class. As a result, they would be economically successful.

2. This site Honors James Earl Ray.
What does sitting there with a one-woman show, steps away from where the shots were fired to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr., actually do? Who does it even help? People – Black and White – visit the Lorraine Motel. They shed tears. They say a prayer. They teach their children. Among this, I am not seeing how any of this honors James Earl Ray. If anyone is setting up a monument for King’s murderer, it is Jackie Smith. She is murdering history with her propaganda. Her pseudo philosophies are just firing the fatal shot all over again. Only instead of killing the body, she’s killing the dream King left behind. And I resent her very presence. Sun up to sun down, she’s out there. How exactly is she contributing to the society she feels the Lorraine Motel abandoned? That is all I have to say about that foolishness.

3. Gentrification is an abuse of Civil Liberties.
I get that people have issues with gentrification and rightly so. The displacement of residents and the loss of history are the serious downsides. But in order for economic prosperity and revitalization to occur, gentrification needs to happen. Also, consider the fact that gentrification is no longer just confined to small pockets in the urban area. The process is globalized as government entities recognize that the purposeful placement of the middle class brings in a much needed tax base, resulting in economic stability. And Martin Luther King, Jr. was all for that. Also, the globalization of gentrification means that it is not going away. At all. That is why we need to gentrify our own selves! If you can’t beat the process, be a part of the process. And if Miss Lady is saying that the Lorraine Motel is a sign of gentrification, then why isn’t she sitting outside of other gentrified spaces like the rehabilitated commercial properties, the gated infill neighborhoods (Uh, you don’t gate urban single family residential spaces, but that’s another blog post), or the pedestrian walkway/trolley route with her little pamphlets?

I cannot with Ms. Smith. I can respect a difference of opinion. But I cannot respect this so-called stand that she has taken. In fact, I am going to need her to have all of the seats available.

Now I want to speak directly to Miss Smith: If you want to take a stand for the homeless and the poor, then take your stand by doing something that will actually help them. Sitting outside of a historical site, baking in the Tennessee sun and freezing in the Tennessee winter for the past 23 years will not get the homeless and the poor the tools that they need to strive for that economic prosperity that King preached about in his I’ve Been to the Mountain Top Speech. Remember that speech for the sanitation workers given in your fair city the day before he died? You say stop worshipping the past? Really? The Lorraine Motel Monument has been built, drawing hundreds of people daily, so clearly people want to pay homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. They want to. So that ship has sailed. Meanwhile, you madam, still remain on the shore. Going nowhere. Such a shame, though. Think of all the people you could have helped if that was truly your agenda.

Cassie Logan would be ashamed of this. All she and people like her endured so that we can have our civil rights, and this Jackie Smith woman is the payback. But her signs mean nothing to me. That road to Memphis has been my inspiration and I will carry it with me always.

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Gentrify Your Own Self!

Pardon me for the misuse of English in this first post of 2014, but I can’t think of a better way to get across my point. What I want to discuss in this post this evening, is the concept of “Self-Gentrification.” What is that, you ask? Well, let’s just put a pin in that for a second. First, let’s start with the meaning of “gentrification.” Now I can just link the word to an online dictionary and you can read for yourself what “gentrification” means but I think I have a better way to get across what I am talking about by providing the following anecdote:

So you are a kid raised in a neighborhood/ward/island/city, living in a Brownstone/Row House/Creole Cottage/Seaside Rancher/80s Style Traditional, where you have your own culture. Only you don’t think of it as “culture,” but as a comfortable way that you live your life. Maybe your traditions include going door-to-door to sample food during the holidays, fishing with handmade nets, parading trick horses down the street, or dancing in Second Lines. That hole-in-wall eatery on the corner makes the best red rice/gumbo/seafood boil/okra, tomato, and corn in the world. That fruit and vegetable stand, has the juiciest peaches, the ripest tomatoes, and the sweetest watermelon. Your neighbors helped to raise you. The seamstress, midwife, and mechanic are all within walking distance. They know who you and your parents are. This is the way of life in which you were raised, your parents were raised, your grandparents were raised…and so on. So years go by and you grow up. You may go away to college, travel abroad, and/or get that corporate career. Then you meet someone and you are ready to settle down now. Only instead of returning to the neighborhood/ward/island/city, you settle in This City East, West That City, or Upwardly Mobile Metropolis. Wherever it is, it’s in the ‘burbs, with the silhouette of the downtown skyscrapers visible in the distance. No matter where it is, you are now living in that cookie cutter, corner lot, open concept, granite/quartz countertops with the island prep space, stainless steel appliances, luxury en suite, gargantuan-sized master bedroom, and equally gargantuan master closet. You just know that is the perfect house that says, “I’ve made it!” One day, you’re feeling nostalgic or you’re going home to visit the folks on the holidays, only to find that most your neighbors and friends are gone, most of the surrounding homes abandoned, that favorite hole-in-the-wall eatery is all boarded up, and crime has run rampant. And what happened to the AME church where you were Baptized? About now, you are thinking, “I’ve gotten out of here in the nick of time.” You try to convince your parents to leave as well but they say, “no way.” Nothing or no one will run them out of a neighborhood they have lived in and raised their family for X number of years. So as this new reality of what has become of your old ‘hood rattles around in your mind, you notice the new neighbors who are unloading their U-haul. They look nothing like the people you have grown up with. Their faces hold expressions of new beginnings, excitement, enjoyment, and discovery. Your parents explain that they are John and Jane Newcomer and they had moved in from West This City and bought and fixed up the Brownstone/Row House/Creole Cottage/Seaside Rancher/80s Style Traditional for the last few weeks and wouldn’t it be nice if you brought them some home cooking and welcome them into the neighborhood (they’d already introduced themselves when they first saw them – that whole neighborhood watch thing). While you’re wondering who in the world would live in this rundown place on purpose, you do as suggested and take food over to the new neighbors. They hesitate to let you in at first, but once you explain whose child you are (“Oh Mr. and Mrs Been Here’s child from next door!”), the fear in their faces disappear and you are invited inside. They are eager to show off what they have done with the place. The first thing that you notice is that the space has been renovated with the very amenities that you covet in your own home in This City East, West That City, or Upwardly Mobile Metropolis. They’ve maintained the charm of the original structure but there is the open floor plan, granite/quartz countertops with island prep space; original hardwood floors (what do you mean no carpet?), reconfigured master bedroom with spa-like en suite, and closet organizer. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but I’m trying to paint a picture here. So you leave your old neighborhood and return to West This City, That City East, or Upwardly Mobile Metropolis, giving the changes a little thought as you settle back into your normal routine of perfect suburbia-tude. When you return to your ‘hood, you have found that more new people have moved in. These new “come heres” are not friendly like the first set. Although their curtains are drawn, they don’t speak to anyone, and they go about their daily lives, their standoffish and private culture contaminate the indigenous traditions. The homes have been fixed up but have kept the character that you have taken for granted. There is a Starbucks and a Subways, so there is no more desire for that down home hole-in-the-wall eatery and they have been run out of business. Where are the people you know? Well the high property taxes ran the rest of them out of the neighborhood/ward/island/city. Thinking of grabbing your trumpet and joining that Second Line that just passed by your door? The cops are about to shut it down before it gets to the next corner because your new neighbors just complained about the noise. Does the new security gate prevent you from taking food to the new neighbors during the holidays? What about church on Sunday? Oh no, that’s gone too. Replaced by the mega interfaith church outside of the neighborhood. I could go on but you know what I am saying is very familiar and you can fill in the blanks with your own stories of displacement. So with this transition, the people and culture of the neighborhood/ward/island/city has disappeared. And all of this that I have described is “gentrification.” I’m pretty sure that Webster’s does not cover the term to this magnitude.

So getting back to “Gentrifying your own self!” What I mean is sure, go away to school, join the Peace Corps, travel, spend a couple of years in that upwardly mobile place, and earn all of the promotions, but come back home. I mean do not sell the Brownstone/Row House/Creole Cottage/Seaside Rancher/80s style traditional that you have inherited. If you have not inherited one, return to your neighborhood or a place that is similar to your old neighborhood and buy one for an inexpensive mortgage. And if you happen to purchase a home where you are not familiar with the traditions, learn them. Make them yours. This way you are adding to the richness of the ‘hood, not taking from it. That money that you had planned to spend on your cookie cutter, corner lot, open
concept, granite/quartz countertops with the island prep space, stainless steel appliances, luxury en suite and so on, put that into your valuable historic home. The advantage? You can keep that hole-in-the-wall eatery on the corner that serves the best creole/lowcountry/wharfstyle/indigenous cuisine. You can keep the fruit and vegetable stand because you’re still there to buy the extra sweet peaches, ripe tomatoes, and sweet watermelon. You can go to the beach because you kept the beach access. You can grab your trumpet and join in on that Second Line that just passed by your porch, because who is going to call the cops on your own people? Do you see where I am going here? Gentrify your own self! Oh sure West This City, That City East, and Upwardly Mobile Metropolis have larger lot sizes, larger master bedrooms, larger walk-in closets, that illusion of security, the so-called best schools, and the famous mega church, but where does that really fall into the scheme of things? We are losing ourselves. Our children don’t have that cultural reinforcement they need in order to find their place in life and be successful.

This is not about separation or segregation. This is about reclaiming what is yours. This is about you finding the value in where you were raised and where your family was raised before someone else does and by the time you have realized that you gave up your diamond in the rough, it is too late to reverse that decision. This is about building a strong neighborhood that can maintain strong cultures, which is instrumental in giving our children a sense of purpose. This goes along the lines of my last post concerning the reasons, teaching history should still be relevant. Gentrify your own self! I’m talking to myself as well. It’s time for us to go home. To our real home. All of us.

Is History History?

I grew up on movies that starred “The Brat Pack” and the like. It seemed like these big named teenaged actors were always shown in some history class where the teacher droned on in a monotone about endless dates and events while students were lulled into a dull stupor. Believe it or don’t, but I actually hated high school history class and it wasn’t because I was forced to memorize that the Battle of Hastings began in 1066 (Okay I have groaned to my mother “Why oh why do we have to learn this? How will this help me find a job?” But I grew out of asking those ignorant questions). The biggest reason why I hated high school history was because I was one of three Black people in a class among students who drove Beemers, Benzes, and any other high end car that you can think of (that always gets wrapped around a tree in their respective subdivisions). Being one of the few Black students in class, was something I was very used to and actually comfortable with as a result of my elementary years being spent in Teaneck, so that wasn’t the problem. It was just that there, in an atmosphere where almost everyone was an United States immigrant, I didn’t always have to defend my Blackness. In high school, I did. It was an intellectual fight daily. Yes, I know that I went to school in Hilton Head, but it was still the south. I always found myself having to defend why I would vote for Jesse Jackson, if I could vote (I wouldn’t now); why the Civil Rights movement had to occur; and why we would not appreciate still being held in bondage. Oh yes, a classmate actually said to me that slavery was a good thing because it made us Black people more civilized (What? A continent that produced the pyramids, royalty, and early forms of government needs lessons in civilization?!?!). When I protested her stupid logic, she proceeded to call me the “N” word. Nice huh?

I did not like History class, but I loved learning History. My favorite periods are the Civil War, along with the surrounding events, and World War II. See in my readings, I know that the Civil War wasn’t just about freeing the slaves or about White people oppressing Black people. While true, it was all about economics. No one will give up something that makes money. The point I am making here is my knowledge of that, helps me to understand why in present times, the rich are getting richer and the middle and poor classes are getting the shaft. So I just demonstrated one reason why we still need to be taught history. The point with this one example is to convince people that learning history is still necessary today even among science, math, and computer technology. When history is erased, humans are not only doomed to repeat the same mistakes, but they become ignorant to cause-and-effect events that can greatly impact their lives.

Recently, I asked a question on my Facebook page if history was still relevant. There were many responses posted to the thread that suggests that it should not be cut from the school curriculum to make way for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Some of the other comments were are follows:

1) Basic Knowledge! – Most students can’t tell the difference between The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Now you know George Washington and the other Founders of this country are rolling over in their graves.

2) Students need to know that they too can make history and be instruments of change. It’s hard to be a change agent if a person does not understand what and why something needs to be changed. For example, how would people know the significance of sections of The Voting Rights Act being repealed if they don’t know the history behind it?

3) History is political, national, and cultural identity and it needs to be taught not only from just the dominant perspective, but from all perspectives. Absolutely! Every culture has history. People who know their history understand their place in society and have a better chance of being successful.

4) History needs to be discussed as it relates to contemporary culture. Absolutely again! Learning history helps us to understand present society. It’s that whole being an instrument of change thing.

5) Parents need to be instrumental in teaching history. This means passing down personal stories (even the painful ones) and traditions. You don’t want someone else knowing more about than you know about yourself. Forewarned is forearmed.

6) Learn your history so that you don’t look like a complete fool on Twitter. http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2013/12/50-dumbest-tweets-2013.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Luvvie+%28Awesomely+Luvvie%29
OMG, enough said…

I remember while attending Hampton, my classmates a pretty militant bunch, always talked about “His” Story being the only one that is told and we needed to learn “Our” story. As a history teacher, I am really sad to say that today’s students don’t care about “His” Story or any “Other” story. Maybe that is what the powers-that-be are feeding off of. They don’t make history a priority, because we as a society do not. In order to change that, we need to do better. We need to collectively value the lessons that came before and build on that knowledge so that we do not continue to repeat the same patterns. We need to start with our family history. I guarantee that those stories are intertwined, with “His,” “Our,” and “All” stories.

It’s All About that Culture Baby!

I think that is fair to say that it’s been more than a few weeks since I’ve posted on my blog. I actually have a good reason for that. I am going to school for my PHd. So add The University of Tennessee to my list of schools. My degree is going to be in education with a concentration in – wait for it – Cultural Studies. It’s a lot of work, this first semester. There are a lot of reading assignments and class discussions. Then I have to find time to publish journal articles (be on the look out for mine at some point), not to mention thinking about my topic for my dissertation. If you know me, it will be something about the Gullah-Geechee Culture. In addition to that, as a Cultural Studies student, I have to do service learning projects, where I give my time outside of the university to perform services that give back to the community. It’s actually a good concept because it gives students field experience rather than keeping us buried in our books. So I had been wracking my brains trying to figure out what to do. How do I tie my love of culture and history into a service learning project? Well believe it or not, the answer came to me in the form of my 8-year-old son. He always has what I call, “under the radar” knowledge. It’s that he knows something but you don’t know that he knows. But when this kid shows you what he knows in that nonchalant way of his, I don’t know about anyone else, but you can knock me over with a feather. So my eight-year-old and I were reviewing vocabulary and the word was “sew.” I asked him to tell me what it meant. So my 8-year-old responds, “You know when Granny Janie (he makes a sewing gesture) pulled the ‘string’ through the cloth?” Through my tears I told him that was exactly what she had done. I could barely hear my own voice when I asked him what the “string” was called. I couldn’t believe he remembered that Granie Janie sewed quilts. First, she was my grandmother and his great-grandmother. Secondly, she passed away when he was 5-years-old. The other thing that got to me was the impact that my grandmother had made on my son. I’m grateful for his memories. Who knows what else my grandmother left with him? Or as my father always says, and maybe he is right, “This child has been here before.” Anyway, I began to realize that everytime someone passes on, a bit of history dies with them…That is if they hadn’t passed it down to the next generation. Just yesterday in my sociology class, we discussed the fact that history courses are disappearing to make way for new subjects that would supposedly catapult us further into the 21st Century. But our history is important too and I wish that people would not forget that. After all, ef oona ent know weh oona da qwibe, oona should kno weh oona kum from (If you don’t know where you’re going, you should know where you come from).

So my idea for my project is simple: People should talk to their grandparents or the oldest person they know and ask them to tell what life was like growing up. Then write it down in a journal. That way people can keep their own history and culture alive.

So I am going to try my best to juggle my school work and hopefully find time to blog. Who knows, maybe I’ll post a journal article or two 😉

Braddock’s Point Cemetery…and Other Places

A few posts ago, I encouraged visitors of Hilton Head to visit Braddock’s Point Cemetery that is located behind the gates of Sea Pines Plantation. Upon doing so, I was reminded of the story that I read concerning the Sea Islands in a 1987 issue of National Geographic. Lord knows where the publication is now (somewhere in the attic of my childhood home), but I remember that there was picture of a woman looking at headstones through a gate. Luxury condominiums served as its backdrop. It’s an odd experience to watch the past and the present collide in such a manner. To me, it’s an unsettling feeling. It makes me wonder if people realize that places like Braddock’s Point Cemetery is more than just a bunch of headstones but a historical record of self-sufficient people who built, lived, and thrived on Hilton Head Island. Up until a few years ago, few people respected that fact. The descendants of the Braddock’s Point Slaves and Freedmen even had to pay to enter the Sea Pines Plantation just to visit the cemetery. The plantation powers-that-be put a stop to that after the wrong was exposed in the National Geographic article.

Another story of the present clashing with the past takes me closer to home. My husband and I went to visit one of my loved ones in the Joe Pope Cemetery, which is located near Broad Creek. First we stopped at the Piggly Wiggly to buy flowers, but we didn’t return to the car, to drive to the destination as was probably expected. It wasn’t necessary. If husband was surprised that I walked through a fence next to the supermarket and into the neighboring cemetery, he never let on. I knew that it was odd to him though that a place so sacred did not have its respected space.

Finally, one summer while I was in college, I worked for one of he resorts on nearby Daufuskie Island. The only way to access this island, even now, is by boat. As we would chug slowly to the docks, one of the first sights of the island was a cemetery near the water. With the surrounding oaks and palmettos, it was actually a beautiful site. But then the welcome center for the resort was right next to it, just marring the whole image. It wasn’t more than a couple of weeks after working at the resort did the islanders tell me that the building wasn’t right next to the cemetery. It was right on top of the cemetery and there was a big lawsuit going on for the resort to move the welcome center. I was appalled but it wasn’t surprising. A lot of the older graves on the Sea Islands are either unmarked or the headstones have sunken into the soft earth. I just wonder why development has to occur right next to or practically on top of these final resting places, as if our ancestors never existed. I’ve been to a few cemeteries over the years in places like New Orleans and Philadelphia where they are apart of the cities’ character. I feel as these places are respected as places that contributed to this country’s history rather than as places that are an inconvenience to someone’s plans for development.

If you have read either The Promise of Palmettos or Marshland, you will find that I make references to the cemeteries to help the reader understand that these aren’t just places to bury loved ones. These places are also a part of our history. It displays our traditions. This cemeteries on the islands are the only places undisturbed by time. They are a record of our past.

10 Things You Need to Know When Visiting Hilton Head Island (Part 2)

As promised in Part 1, I was going to get a little deeper in Part 2, so here goes…

7) We Islanders HATE the name “Plantation.” – As mentioned in #8, Hilton Head’s subdivided communities are called, plantations. The term is demeaning. While some Americans have romantic notions of the Antebellum South, others do not and would prefer that community names on Hilton Head be amended in a manner that embraces the 21st Century. Just how hard is it to sub the word plantation with subdivision? I think that Hilton Head Subdivision has a nice ring to it.

6) Gated Communities give a false sense of security. – As a planner, I am talking to the Plantation Powers-That-Be, letting them know that gates (manned or otherwise) are a bad idea. While you think you’re providing security to residents and guests, all you’re saying to the would-be criminals is “rob me.” Criminals target gated areas because they know that residents and guests feel safe enough to let down their guard. In my opinion, the best security to have is a vigilant neighborhood watch program, heavy locks, and a good security system. If you want to know the truth though, I personally think the gates are aimed to keep “me” out. Please know that I’m not interested in robbing a home. I’m just an islander in search of beach access.

5) Learn the History. – To piggyback off of #8, I invite visitors to do other than tan, bike ride, golf, and tennis. Learn the history of Hilton Head. Visit some historic sites. Here are some good suggestions of places to learn about and visit:

*Gullah Heritage Tours
*Mitchellville
*Union Cemetery
*Drayton Plantation Slave Tabby Ruins (Covered in the Gullah Heritage Tour)
*Queen Chapel African Methodist Episcopalian Church (You may also be interested in this post)
*First African Baptist Church
*Greens Shell Enclosure (Indian Shell Ring)
*Honey Horn Plantation (This is a real plantation, so it’s okay to use the term here)

Now, if you want a sense of history in a fictional novel, with real historic elements, I invite you to purchase The Promise of Palmettos and Marshland, both available on Amazon. (Hey my blog, my shameless plug ;).)

This is a good place to leave off for now. Stay tuned for Part 3 of 10 Things You Need to Know When Visiting Hilton Head.

Interview with an Author

Check out the Palmetto Author’s Blog Tour! I had the priviledge of being interviewed by Evolving Elle, who did a wonderful job of outlining my writing journey. Check it out as well as other blog topics.

Southern Girl in the City

Wife. Mother. Teacher. Urban Planner. Author.

These are just a few words that describe novelist Sheryse Noelle DuBose.   With always having dreams of being a writer, Sheryse decided to hit the ground running when she stopped teaching to pursue her dreams of writing full-time.  Her upcoming book, Marshland, will be released this Friday, which also happens to be her birthday.  “My newest novel is fictional, but I received the inspiration from my family’s story,” Sheryse states.  “Marshland is set during the Civil War and tells the story of a slave family that escapes the mainland (of South Carolina) and flees to Pickney Island then to Hilton Head Island.  The family meets various people along the way-some who are friendly and some that are not.”  As a native of Hilton Head Island, SC, Sheryse has always been fascinated with life in the Lowcountry.  While teaching U.S. History, Sheryse discovered the…

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