My Swan Lake Life

My Swan Lake Life

Inspired by two questions from her then eight-year-old grandson, Louise researched both the history of slavery and her own ancestry, hoping to give him a more positive image of enslaved Africans than the one he appeared to have received during African American History Month in 2009.

My Swan Lake Life, the result of her findings, is not only the seldom-told history of enslaved Africans who fought in the American Revolution, led uprisings, escaped, purchased, or sued for their freedom, the diverse group of individuals who joined their fight for liberation; and African American inventors, physicians, and entrepreneurs who brought cost-effective and life-saving products to market, it is also an engaging memoir in which Louise traces her ancestry to 80,000 B.C. in northeast Africa, after which, she follows her ancestors’ paths from South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia to the Swan Lake, Mississippi plantation where her immediate family resided before migrating to Memphis, Tennessee—making her dream of a college education a reality on May 31, 1965.

Accompaniments for My Swan Lake Life

The only histoir on the market, My Swan Lake Life has titles of songs in the “Accompaniments” that follow each chapter—a means for readers to interact with it by searching for the songs online, listening to the music, and “Dancing on the Ceiling.” For now, enjoy a sample of the selections here; and please come back for periodic updates.

Prelude | Forever Young

Dinosaur Days | Wonderful

Dinosaur Days | Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens

Who We Are | Different Coulors


Prelude / i

A Pastoral Symphony / 1

Dinosaur Days / 7

Who We Are / 19

The Evolution of American Slavery / 25

Whence and How They Came / 33

Moments of Joy / 45

Adapting and Escaping / 51

Flights and Fights for Freedom / 79

Stony the Road / 111

Paths to Mississippi / 133

≈ Pictorials / 153 ≈

She Kept Us Together / 177

Hope for Greener Pastures / 193

Eight Dollars and Five Cents / 199

To Make Her Proud / 217

Postlude / 247

Endnotes / 251

Bibliography / 260