After almost six years of research and writing, I am thrilled to announce that University Press of Kentucky will be publishing my historical nonfiction book, Under the Vine and Fig Tree: Slavery, Freedom, and Ties That Bind.
Sixteen thousand black people—freeborn or freed from slavery—left the United States in the 1800s and sailed for Liberia, Africa. They were escaping America’s oppression and bigotry and seeking freedom, peace, and security in a new land. It was the largest out-migration in American history. The so-called colonization movement was highly controversial. Some black people supported it; others vehemently opposed it. Some white people, including slave owners, supported it; others opposed it. The land where these colonists settled was home to numerous indigenous groups, some of whom welcomed the newcomers and others who battled with them.
On the day after Independence Day 1836, two families from Kentucky, the Majors and Harlans, set sail aboard the Luna. They landed in Bassa Cove, Liberia, several weeks later. Though of African descent, they were not African and were ill-prepared for the disease, dangers, and disasters that awaited them. Their former owner had taught them to read and write, and for fifteen years, they maintained a correspondence with him. Their surviving letters form the heart of Under the Vine and Fig Tree.
The book will be in the University Press of Kentucky spring 2020 catalog.
Books by Savvy Communication clients have recently been honored. Kentucky’s 120 Counties: A Postcard Album (1900–1925), by Carl Howell and Robin Milby, won the bronze medal in the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the best regional non-fiction category (southeastern US).
Louisville’s Street Railways and How They Shaped the City’s Growth, by Martin Biemer, won the Samuel W. Thomas Book Award, presented annually by the Louisville Historical League. Biemer gave coauthor credit to two of Louisville’s most renowned and beloved historians—the late George Yater and James Calvert—and acknowledged contributions by Ernest Gibson (also deceased.)
Both books are available from Butler Books, www.ButlerBooks.com, and local retail outlets.