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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

working on a novel. . .Sigh

I've started a novel about 100 years in a house in West Adams, a fancy neighborhood of LA. The novel is inspired by a neighbor there (we used to live there) whose great aunt built the house they still live in back in 1908 when that branch of the family was passing. In the 40's, that area became very wealthy black--they went to the Supreme Court to break exclusionary clauses--but they couldn't block a freeway from being slammed through it. By the 80's, the well-to-do blacks were leaving, the crack epidemic was racing through, it was in bad shape. (One neighbor who had a group home for girls lost her house because they used crack cocaine in it.) Now, it's getting very hispanic, but also wealthy black and white(integrated!) by sheer dint of the lack of good housing stock in LA. (We loved it there, because the neighbors were sooo wonderful, even though my two year old saw a gang shooting literally the day we moved away.)
I want to write about complicated stuff--what happened to the soul when people passed as well as the reality of the mechanics of passing--I've read about people passing who were sheriffs in white towns and in the Klan--what it was like to be powerful enough to look down on those "other" blacks, but not powerful enough to keep a freeway from ripping by a block away, that kind of thing. I need people to talk to who might have experienced this stuff. Okay, I can't find people who were 20 in 1903 who passed, but oral histories, etc. And I might find somebody who ran a group home for girls in the 80's. (I never could find the real Queen Bee, though I'd hear rumors she was in a nursing home nearby) If I could even read a weekly black paper from that era and place, except, dang, we've move away and I haven't had luck finding that online. Interlibrary loan?

Anyway, sorry for the long-windedness, but any help would be appreciated and I'd love to find some community. It's complicated, hat I want to do, and I'm feeling scared. . .

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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