The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American Southby W. Ralph Eubanks
In defiance of his middle-class landowning family, a young white man named James Morgan Richardson married a lightskinned black woman, Edna Howell. It was 1914 in south Alabama. Together they eventually built a house at the dead end of a road in a rural black community. If you came there to do the Richardson family harm, you faced Jim Richardson’s rule of
In defiance of his middle-class landowning family, a young white man named James Morgan Richardson married a lightskinned black woman, Edna Howell. It was 1914 in south Alabama. Together they eventually built a house at the dead end of a road in a rural black community. If you came there to do the Richardson family harm, you faced Jim Richardson’s rule of justice, represented by a double-barreled shotgun. And at the end of the road, there was only one way out.
The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South examines how one pioneering interracial couple developed a love and a racial identity that carried them defiantly through the Jim Crow years. Through interviews and oral history collected from both sides of the Richardson family’s racial divide, as well as archival research, The House at the End of the Road probes into the core of the issue of race in early twentieth-century America. At the same time, it takes the lessons of the past and places them under the scrutiny of a contemporary world adjusted to DNA ancestry testing, a more flexible sense of racial and ethnic identity, and a tolerance and acceptance of the racial ambiguity that laws prohibiting Jim and Edna Richardson’s marriage sought to eliminate.
Jim and Edna Richardson were Ralph Eubanks’s grandparents. Now, decades after interracial marriage became legal, Eubanks takes readers on a journey back to his grandparents’ house at the end of the road where he reconstructs their life and times and seeks lessons for America’s multiracial future.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
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Meet the Author
W. Ralph Eubanks, Washington, D.C., is the author of the memoir Ever Is a Long Time, which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently director of publishing at the Library of Congress.
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I thought this book was most interesting in the way it presented racial relations in the early part of the 20th Century. I wouldn't have thought that the offspring of an Interracial marriage would have had a more difficult time of coping in society than those of an all Black or all White family. I thought that Mr. Eubanks did an outstanding job in gathering background information on his grandparents and their problems in being accepted by the Richardson family as well as the Howell family. While my wife and I both read the book, we agreed that it's not a book that we would buy to give to a friend.
W. Ralph Eubanks work on race in America is a must read for all Americans. Americans see race as only a divisive issue. It doesn't have to be. Please read this book. You will come away with a better view of your fellow Americans no matter what race they are. You will get an idea of how change is here, and how to address it.
Wasn't impressed, maybe the other 2 reviewers are much younger than I or have never lived in the south, seen the "colored" and "white" water fountain, section at the train station, or have to be one of the only 3 black children to integrate and all white school...I have done all of these things (I'm 53) so if you are my age and raised in the south then this story (and I really felt more like I was reading someones home work as opposed to a book)won't give you any insight to anything. I found this quite boring and a total waste of my time and money. I didn't even want to give it one star but I had to.