So many stories with black protagonists chronicle poor, defeated, powerless, dependent victims.Afterword from Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy
Citizens Creek is an historical novel that chronicles the family of a black slave of a Creek Indian chief: pre-Civil War during the years of Indian removals, and through post-Civil War reconstruction.
The pre-Civil War period protagonist is Cow Tom, who uses his multilingual skills to assist the US Army removing Seminole from Florida, guide his family on their journey to Indian Territory, and finally to survive the chaos of the Civil War.
The reconstruction protagonist is his grand-daughter Rose Simmons who grows and runs her family ranch in Oklahoma while raising a large family threatened by infidelity and the changing culture.
As the author points out in the afterword, this is a story of strong black protagonists. Through the eyes of black members of the Creek Nation, the author presents the 19th century in a positive human light, not denying the civil rights horrors, but focusing more on the successes and victories of those who lived through them.
For anyone interested in the lives of minorities in this time period, this is an excellent read - appropriate for mature middle-schoolers and all students beyond.
This book was received in a goody bag at the Canary Challenge bike race in Palo Alto on September 27, 2014 benefiting the Canary Center at Stanford University.