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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.

The Thompson Family

The Thompson Family: Untold Stories From The Past (1830-1960) is the first of several volumes of books written by Dr. Walter B. Curry, Jr. that tell the history and stories of the Thompson family throughout the past. The book is primarily narrative essays and analyses, however, it also contains an introduction, the genesis, pictures and so much more that ensures readers feel like they know the people the author is writing about, and readers feel with them and for them. In this illuminating book, you will read about Milledge Thompson who freed himself and his family from slavery, Otis Thompson who had so many vocations throughout his life and so many more interesting and accomplished people.

The author writes in a very clear and straightforward tone but still manages to provide us with vivid imagery and details that lead the reader on a phenomenal visual journey. As we travel throughout the pages of this family saga it almost feels like we are right there with these people experiencing everything they are experiencing.  We visit and get touched by so many lives just by turning from one page to another.

The author writes about people that are deceased, but also about people who are still live and well. In any case, the author is able to describe these people in a beautiful and compelling tone that leaves the reader with a genuine and sincere presentation of who these people were, what they have done, loved, and fought for.

Another thing I loved about this morally and spiritually uplifting book is that it contains so many peoples’ stories written so engagingly in several short essays that it leaves you wanting to find out more about these intriguing people, their ancestors, and their descendants.

The Thompson Family: Untold Stories From The Past (1830-1960) is a well-crafted and and well-researched book that details a stirring and inspirational history of so many impressive people. Readers will learn about a collection of little-known but exceptional people and read of achievements that were hard won but rarely shared.

Pages: 122 | ASIN: B09FS5DS7H

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The Awakening

The first volume in a compelling family saga, the narrative of The Awakening takes us back to the days of the Reconstruction Era and tells us about the two families that descended from Martha Kitchings Seawright Ellison. Set in South Carolina, the author offers a vivid description of the bygone days; enslavement, freedom from slavery, and the subsequent socioeconomic conditions that led the family of Martha to become sharecroppers.

In this enlightening memoir the author shares the fascinating history of both the Seawright family and the Ellison family and presents the stories of the descendants who managed to achieve excellence in various fields. The backstory of Martha’s marriage to Dave Seawright, Sr., and then her courtship and marriage with Joseph Ellison, Sr. is not known in detail, but it stands true that she is the common ancestor of both these families. The author has done a fantastic job of bringing this history together in a coherent and thoughtful way.

The book is essentially a historical account, and it is quite evident that a great amount of research went into finding out each and every fact or incident mentioned throughout the work. The language is simple and easy to follow, which I much appreciated because I was easily able to immerse myself in the family history. The first part of the book tells readers about the Seawright-Ellison families, and in the second half, readers are presented with a host of pictures, newspaper cuttings, and notes, all related to the family in some way or another way. I enjoyed the inclusion of these bits of history as it gave the story much more depth and made it all seem so much more substantive.

This book and history is simply fascinating to go through and learn about these two remarkable families that are connected by a mutual foremother. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of knowledge and history shared. Author Walter B. Curry, Jr. arranges the available data, genealogical research, and historical events in a way that they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. And when those pieces come together, the revelation is enlightening and rewarding. If you are interested in learning more about black history, the Harlem Renaissance, or wish to know about the history of South Carolina, this book is a must-read.

Pages: 269 | ASIN: 1638372829

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