READING FROM THE RECORDS
now, it is only a dream: An America where people live in harmony, where
"love thy neighbor" is the law of the land, and where classism and racism
do not exist. It may not exist now, but it once did.
Anna-Lisa Cox , author of
A Stonger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith,
knows the tale. She shared the story of Covert, Michigan, a fully integrated
town that broke down barriers at a time when racial unity was unthinkable,
with students, faculty, and staff, as part the Black History Month activities
on Monday, February 20. Trinity's Historical Association of Students
and the history department hosted the event.
Drawing on private diaries,
overlooked documents, oral histories, and contemporary records, Cox recapped
the tale of an amazing town and its extraordinary residents.
In the heartland of 19th-century
America, amid a roaring sea of racism and hatred, Covert became a mixed-race
community where blacks lived as equal citizens. Schools and churches were
integrated; blacks and whites married; and power and wealth were shared
between the races. Starting in the 1860s, the people of Covert broke laws
and barriers to attempt what then seemed impossible: to live in peace with
When asked why she was inspired
to write the non-fiction tale, Cox replied, "The story really moved me.
Here's a group of people who tried to do something different. I thought
it was important for people to know about Covert."
"The stories that Anna-Lisa
tells in this book are stories that (people of) today's United States need
to hear," said John Fry, associate professor of history. "Anna-Lisa's book
doesn't lay out detailed plans for how we might solve the problems of race
relations in America in 2006. But it does give us ideas about how
we might begin addressing them in our communities today."
Anna-Lisa Cox is a historian
of American race relations and the recipient of many awards for her research,
including a National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars Award,
a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship, and a Pew Younger Scholars Fellowship. The
book has received endorsements from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews,
and from Pulitzer Prize winning Author Marilynne Robinson. Cox is currently
a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.