A vivid and moving story about family, courage, and the power of education
Ruth remembers the day the sheriff pulled up in front of her family's home with a white neighbor claiming Ruth's father owed her recently deceased husband money. It was 1940 in Jim Crow South Carolina, and even at the age of 11, Ruth knew a Black person's word wasn't trusted. But her father remained calm as he waited on her mother's return from the house. She had retrieved a gray book, which she opened and handed to the sheriff. Satisfied by what he saw, the sheriff and the woman left. Ruth didn't know what was in that book, but she knew it was important.
In Beatrice's Ledger, Ruth R. Martin brings to life the stories behind her mother's entries in that well-worn ledger, detailing her family's daily struggle to survive. Enriched by public records and interviews with people still living in Smoaks, South Carolina, Martin weaves history, humor, and poignant reflection into a compelling narrative about the power of family and the place we call home.
Ruth R. Martin is professor emerita and former associate dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut.
Vivian B. Martin is professor and chair of the Journalism Department at Central Connecticut State University.