A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke
hundred and fifty years ago, a southwestern Michigan community embraced hope, deciding it could ride the '
roiling sea of racism and hatred
', breaking with laws and social convention. A speaker at Covert's
in 1895 declaimed, '
Be grand, grand in your manhood and womanhood ... and the day will come when all, regardless of race, color, or previous condition will hand in hand tread the peaceful heights of perfect liberty.
A Stronger Kinship
is the story of that community, a true story of integration, intermarriage, and shared wealth and power, penned by Anna-Lisa Cox.
ox covers slavery, the turmoil of politics, pre- and post-Civil War, abolitionists, the Underground Railroad, the Black Codes, the Conscription Act (1863), Native Americans, and black troops enlisted in the War (e.g. the 102nd USCT, and the Thirty-fifth USCT). She mentions well-known figures (including Sojourner Truth, Samuel Purvis, George Moses Horton, and Lucretia Mott), organizations (Quakers, Congregationalists, American Anti-Slavery Society, American Colonization Society, Covert Pomological Society), the death knell of political parties such as the Whigs, and the rise of the Democratic and Republican parties. Covert township saw the election of the first black Justice of the Peace in Michigan. Though the town's enterprises grew and died, and there were hard knocks during the depression years ... yet Covert's
ox, a historian and scholar in residence at the Newberry Library, ends with these profound words, '
In the end the story of Covert is about hope, the hope its residents had that they could create a community of equality. If they were able to succeed, maybe we can believe that hope can reside in our present, and in our future.
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