The Epiphany Moment

Dr. Walter B. Curry Jr.
Dr. Walter B. Curry Jr. Author Interview

The Awakening is the first volume in a narrative history about the descendants of two families that share a common ancestor. What inspired you to write and publish this book?

The epiphany moment for me to write an account about the family was upon the passing of my cousin, Otis Corbitt, on September 6, 2009. Otis was known to everyone in the family, as well as to other African American families in the Wagener-Salley area of South Carolina, for being astute in family history. Before his passing, he instructed me to begin writing a family history book. He said he did not have much time to live and the future of our efforts rested on my shoulders. I agreed. Secondly, I wanted to contextualize the stories of relatives that have been fragmented and forgotten in the past. Many of the relatives featured in the book were well respected in their professions publicly.

I appreciated the amount of history included in this book. What type of research did you undertake to ensure you got as complete a picture as possible?

I conducted several oral interviews with relatives and associates of our family. I also researched primary sources such as newspaper articles and genealogical records. Secondary sources (i.e., history books) were consulted as well.

What was one surprising thing you learned about the family during your research?

I learned that my mother family, The Seawrights, were the first families of both Orangeburg & Aiken County, South Carolina. They lived in the Tabernacle Township in the Orangeburg District during the time Orangeburg County was founded in 1870. Then on March 10th, 1871, the Tabernacle Township in Orangeburg County became a part of the newly formed Aiken County, which was founded by a racially diverse group of men. Out of the group, three African American men who were Civil War veterans and legislators signed the legal document that officially established Aiken County.

What can readers expect in volume two of this family saga?

Volume 2, will be a pictorial history which will have pictures, source images, and captions. It will be an extension of the work in Volume 1, but will include new stories.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

The Awakening: The Seawright-Ellison Familiy Saga, Vol.1, A Narrative History, is the first volume in a narrative history about the descendants of two families that share a common ancestor, Martha Kitchings Seawright Ellison. The book documents the family saga of Martha’s family of sharecroppers who lived near Williston, South Carolina during the Reconstruction Era and the circumstances that involved her marriages to Dave Seawright, Sr. and Joseph Ellison, Sr. The book documents the saga with contextualized resurrected stories of relatives that were forgotten and fragmented over the years who lived in Aiken, Orangeburg, and Richland Counties, South Carolina.

The book includes the famed stories of Floster L. Ellison, Jr., during the Civil Rights Movement, who became the co-founder of the Palmetto State Barbers Association and the first African American Barber Inspector In the State of South Carolina; and Tommy Ellison, whose experiences as a youth singing on the children choir, inspired him to pursue a legendary career in gospel music, affectionately known by many of his fans as “Mr. Superstar of Gospel”.

The book includes an appendix section which consists of individual pictures, documented history of places and events, and primary sources relative to the family saga.

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Posted on December 5, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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