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1878 is based on the life and times of Henry Forest a Georgia sharecropper.
1878 is based on the life of Henry forest, who lived during the late 1800’ until the mid 1900’s. The fourth son of a farmer, Henry was born in 1878 on a farm in Georgia, he and his brothers were raised to be hard-working and responsible men; to marry and raise their own families. Henry married a young woman named Mollie, with no farm of his own; he decided to work for another farmer in Dexter, Shortly, after Jack Johnson won the heavy weight championship in July, 1910 racial tension ignited around the country. Henry gets involved in a fight with a number of white men who made racist comments about blacks with the rise of the klu Klux Klan, wanted by the FBI and afraid of getting killed, he moves to Eulonia and assumes the name Robert. He spent the rest of his life living in fear for his life and the life of the family he left behind.
The book is written in the area dialect and in dialogue. In the back of the book there is a word reference to make the book more reader friendly.
Excerpt from 1878
“Gather around boys, I wanter tell y’all a story. Henry come over yeh and sit on grand papa lap.”
“My papa uncle wuz working on a farm in Carolina. He had been out yonder working that field all day long with sweat pouring of his face. So he sit down to rest in a pea patch. His boss told him boy ‘I ain’t paying you to sit.’ Uncle Frank told him, I know boss, but I is so tied and hot.
Boy, who you think you is talking back too. Some of the crackers working nearby, overheard them talking. The other colored men working in the field jus hang their head, and kept working. It wuz a burner that day. Much like this day! Anyway the next day , uncle Frank didn’t show up for work. The boss ax, “whey that old lazy boy today?”
“We don’t know, boss we ain’t seen em since yistdiddy.”
“We wuz all worried cause we ain’t seen em for two days. Cousin Sol wuz out coon hunting with his dog two miles from the farm. The dog wuz behind some bushes this a barking and carrying on. When cousin Sol went a little closer to see what all the commotion wuz bout, he seen his papa hanging in a oak tree with flies all over his body. He almost drop dead. He ran back to the house hollowing and screaming.”
“Mama, I found papa, he hanging in a tree.” “His mama fell on the floor. The word spread , and the sheriff and his deputy came to the site. The sheriff ax when last time anybody seen em.”
“We seen two days ago when he went to the farm to work. They never found out who beat him to death, and hang him in that tree. Lincoln freed the slaves, but we still ain’t free. We still goter do what the white man say.”
“I think we can all use something cool to drink.”
“I’ll go to the kitchen and make some sweet water.”
“Caroline, I go and help you.”
“We’ll be back in a little while.”
“Boys, y’all can go under the oak tree and play”
“Papa Ben I sure is glad you told the boys that story bout they great Uncle.”
“I don’t wanter see nuthin happen to them boys.”
“They got to learn how to get along in the world.”
“Maybe one day things will change.”