Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, and A Mother's Quest : A True Story of the Jim Crow SouthBook - 2016
The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever. Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even "Ambassadors from Mars." Back home, their mother never accepted that they were "gone" and spent 28 years trying to get them back.
Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home? TRUEVINE is a compelling narrative rich in historical detail and rife with implications to race relations today.
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"Discrimination! Why that is exactly what we propose." boasted constitution delegate and future senator Carter Glass when asked whether the new voting restrictions were discriminatory.
The goal, Glass explained , had been "the elimination of every Negro who can be gotten rid of, legally, without materially impairing the strength of the white electorate."
To celebrate the news constitution and the complementary Jim Crow laws that banned the mixing of races in public places, restrooms, trains, and water fountains, municipalities across Virginia planted oak saplings in courthouse squares.
"When he's ninety-nine, doctors install a pacemaker with a battery designed to last seven years. "God is good to me," he says, again, when the battery keeps ticking beyond seven years, then eight. And so does Willie Muse." p. 323
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