Parnassus Books in Green Hills has invited me to read and sign copies of Sunday Dinner on Saturday, November 21, at 2:00. Please join me at Parnassus Books for that event.
The opportunity to talk about my book at Parnassus came as an exciting opportunity, and then, it turned into an exceptional opportunity. Sunday Dinner is a memoir/social commentary about Southern society as I lived it as a little girl. Stories of my family and the African-American folks who worked for my family are at the heart of the book. In a most unlikely and wonderful happenstance, I recently met by email several descendants of an amazing African-American woman who worked for my family. Andrea Scott is the great, great, great granddaughter of Mary Scott, who was given as a gift to my great-grandmother when both girls were five years old.
After emancipation, Mary Scott continued to work as my great-grandmother’s maid for the rest of her life, and a big part of the story in Sunday Dinner is my struggle to come to terms with this relationship. As a little girl, I believed Mary Scott to have been a beloved member of our family. She was a legendary figure. But as I grew older, I came to see that she was not treated as an equal member. She was not invited to sit at the dinner table with us, and her possibilities in life were circumscribed in ways I didn’t fully grasp at the time.
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times.” —Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” wrote Justice Kennedy in the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. That was certainly true of the South of my childhood, in the 40s and 50s: Many Southerners could not see the injustice all around them, even in their own homes.
I wanted to try to understand more about Mary Scott’s life and the lives of those who worked in my family’s household—people whom I never really knew, because Southern society in that era did not permit us to truly know each other. That’s why I reached out to Andrea Scott, and perhaps, that’s why she so generously agreed to meet me.
She is coming to the Parnassus Books reading, and we will share the stage.
I will talk about the book and tell a story or two about the characters in my life history. Andrea Scott will then add her perspective. All these generations later, Southern society has changed a lot, and it has also stayed the same a lot. Ms. Scott and I will talk from our different perspectives about how Southern society has shaped our families, our society, and our country, and how our lives today have the promise to reshape our families, our society and our country in ways we could never have dreamed a generation ago.
Please join us for this conversation. —ABW
Parnassus Books / 3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14 / Nashville TN 37215
November 21, 2015 / 2:00 P.M.