Sunday, March 8, 2020

Jeffrey Colvin

Jeffrey Colvin's new novel is Africaville.

From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Africaville, and for the family you write about?

A: The stories that became Africaville began in the late 1990s as a series of short stories set in rural Alabama. The stories were set in communities along the route from Selma to Montgomery taken by protesters during the 1965 march for voters’ rights.

Many people are familiar with the leaders of the marches such as Martin Luther King, but I was interested in the lives of the residents in the rural communities along the route. How had the communities been formed? Had any of the residents marched? If so why? If they did not march, why not?

I have a personal connection to such communities since my grandmother raised a raised a family in rural Alabama community. During the early 1980s I came home on a leave from the Marine Corps to find that my grandmother had moved away from her former community and that the last houses in the community had been torn down.

The short stories I wrote were inspired by stories my grandmother and her former neighbors told about their community.

These stories became part of a larger narrative in 2001 after I read an article in The New York Times about a community called Africville that once existed on the northern edge of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Africville was formed in the late 1700s and existed until the late 1960s when over the objection of residents, the city of Halifax forced residents out of their homes and razed the houses, churches and other structures in the community.

I was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue