What would you do if you'd just be freed (along with 4 million other people) from generations of chattel slavery?
For a group of ex-slaves in Tennessee, the answer was to found a church. And by church, I don't mean one congregation. I mean the CME, which originally stood for the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, but today stands for the Christian Method Episcopal Church, a primarily black denomination that grew out of the post-Civil War south.
As you can imagine, Mary Bowser's story resonates powerfully within this church community. So I was honored to speak at Allen Temple CME last month.
The senior pastor, Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Junior, welcomed me with this moving introduction.
He's a former history professor at Southern Methodist University, so it was a bit like winning a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to have him praise the novel.
Plus, it is not every day someone connects my work to WEB DuBois.