Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves

China Galland, Author . Harper San Francisco $24.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-06-077931-3

Galland chronicles the restoration and reconsecration of an African-American cemetery in her East Texas childhood hometown in this inspirational first-person account. The author, who is white, uncovers a fragment of local history in the process of her participation in an interracial group of people who from 2003 to 2006 convened a series of "work parties" at the cemetery—hacking at weeds, repairing gravestones and making offerings to the ancestors. Galland reports the meetings, church services and potluck suppers she joins in around the communal cleanup of Love Cemetery, which may date back to the 1830s. She portrays the Boy Scout troop, various clergy, parishioners and the community elders ("keepers of the group memory") involved in the effort, with especially nuanced portraits of two African-American women, Doris Vittatoe (a direct descendant of a man buried there) and Nuthel Britton (the unofficial cemetery caretaker). Galland (The Bond Between Women, 1998), who leads spiritual retreats, was acutely aware of "the dissonance between the black and white experience of life in America," but comes to her own "understanding that enormous change happens through tiny choices." Despite some slack passages, this fresh if not always coherent tale will appeal to women readers eager for an uplifting story. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 274 pages - 978-0-06-085955-8
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-144543-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 288 pages - 978-0-06-144541-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-174875-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-144538-5
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