I just finished Cane River by Lalita Tademy this morning, just in time for Thursday Thirteen. I didn't have a theme idea for today so this really comes in handy!
1. Based on her family history, Lalita Tademy wrote the book as fiction.
2. Writing the book that way was a great idea so that she could fill in details and conversations without spoiling the integrity of real-to-life history.
3. Cane River spans a period of over 100 years, beginning in 1834 and ending around 1936.
4. The book focuses on four incredibly strong women in the family: Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene and Emily.
5. Each of the women was born into slavery.
6. The lives of slaves were pretty harsh and brutal--especially the fact that they were human beings and had no say over their lives. A white master could take a female slave and she would not be able to stop it.
7. Set in and around the Cane River in Louisiana, I learned that there were gens de coleur libre. They were well-to-do people of color who owned small farms, plantations and ... yes, slaves! They looked down their noses at the slaves. It boggles my mind that not only white people did this but so did this group!
8. There was a "bleaching" of the family line that went on almost during the entire span of the book. That meant the women bore children by white men.
9. Each mother hoped her children would be better off but it didn't work out that way.
10. The Jim Crow laws are/were sickening. Children could be robbed of their inheritance and birth rights and they could do nothing about it.
11. I learned people in the area spoke Creole French almost all the time, not English.
12. Night Riders (the Klan) could be brutal to other white people as well as black people.
13. This was an engrossing book. You learn a lot without being stifled with dry facts.