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Family History Writing Seminar with David Nicholson (Richland Library, Columbia, SC)

Feb 24, 2024 @ 2:30pm - 4pm | Location: Richland Library, Walker Local and Family History Center, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29201

Feb 24, 2024 @ 2:30pm - 4pm
Location: Richland Library, Walker Local and Family History Center, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29201
Hosted by: Richland Library

Interested in writing a book about your family history? Join us in the Richland Library Walker Local and Family History Center and get tips from David Nicholson, author of the new book The Garretts of Columbia.

At the heart of David Nicholson's beautifully written and carefully researched book, The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration, are his great-grandparents, Casper George Garrett and his wife, Anna Maria. Papa, as Garrett was known to his family, was a professor at Allen University, a lawyer, and an editor of three newspapers. Dubbed Black South Carolina's "most respected disliked man," he was always ready to attack those he believed disloyal to his race. When his quixotic idealism and acerbic editorials resulted in his dismissal from Allen, his wife, who was called Mama, came into her own as the family bread winner. She was appointed supervisor of rural colored schools, trained teachers, and oversaw the construction of schoolhouses. At 51, this remarkable woman learned to drive, taking to the back roads outside Columbia to supervise classrooms, conduct literacy drives, and instruct rural farm women in the basics of home economics.

Though Papa and Mama came of age in the bleak Jim Crow years after Reconstruction, they believed in the possibility of America. Resolutely supporting their country during the First World War, they sent three of their sons to serve. One son wrote a musical with Langston Hughes during the Harlem Renaissance. Another son became a dentist. A daughter earned a doctorate in French. And the family persevered. But, for all that Papa and Mama did to make Columbia a nurturing place, their sons and daughters joined the Great Migration, scattering north in search of the freedom the South denied them.

The Garretts embraced the hope of America and experienced the melancholy of a family separated by the search for opportunity and belonging. On the basis of decades of research and thousands of family letters—which include Mama's tart-tongued observations of friends and neighbors—The Garretts of Columbia is family history as American history, rich with pivotal events viewed through the lens of the Garretts's lives.

David Nicholson is a former editor and book reviewer for the Washington Post Book World and author of Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City. He attended Haverford College before graduating from the University of the District of Columbia. Nicholson has worked as a reporter in San Francisco; Milwaukee; and Dayton, Ohio. He lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife and son.

Space is limited so please register for a seat.

Books will be available for purchase at the event.

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Published on January 3, 2024 | Categories: Events

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