Last night Dr. Ezra Greenspan, "an archaeologist of the written word", spoke about the nineteenth century writer William Wells Brown. For many years, Dr. Greenspan has been meticulously investigating physical locations, archives, and publications in attempt to recreate Brown's footsteps and will publish a book about his findings, due out in 2014. Dr. Greenspan presented his fascinating journey and the twists and turns encountered while researching the nearly unrecorded history of the man he classifies as the most important African-American writer of the nineteenth century.
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The lecture brought back wonderful memories of my cousin Lee and I researching our own family history in the nearby library and driving around town to discover an actual road named after our family! It was a great discovery and led us down another path to find more links to our past.
If you are an antique book lover, as I am, you must visit the Small Special Collection Library. My Grandmother Hall was an avid book reader, school teacher, and writer, publishing one book. I moved into her home 25 years after her death and the renters of 25 years had lovingly left her books throughout the house in various bookcases! Twenty years after that, just a month ago, my mother and I were "cleaning the garage" and discovered boxes and boxes and boxes of more of my Grandmothers books! We sorted through, donating a car trunk load to the Goodwill (of god forbid hopefully) non- valuable books. What remained is mostly at my house... "mostly"... there is MORE.
Dr. Greenspan continues to look for leads into the past to fill in more missing links of William W. Brown and has given me the motivation to seek out old family history that might not be obvious on the written page.