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Author Event: "Sketches of Lee Collection" by Michael Ward
From the author’s website: In the summer of 1957, the Ward family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Lee, New Hampshire to escape gang violence. It was an era when racial tensions were high, and they were the first “colored family” in the area. Needless to say, over the years they encountered many interesting experiences. They also became respected members of the community, led by parents, Harold and Virginia Ward, a couple with strong character, conviction and compassion.

“I want my great grandchildren to know where they came from.”

Harold, Michael Cameron Ward’s 94-year-old father, was hospitalized in the beginning of May 2015 with only weeks to live. On May 20th, he made a request of his son: “Michael, I want you to write the stories of our existence. I want my great grandchildren to know where they came from.”
As Michael sat at his father’s bedside on the 4th floor at Exeter Hospital, his father recounted stories of his life that had never been told before. If not captured, they would be lost forever. On June 9th, 2015 Harold died, and Michael has been fulfilling his father’s request ever since.

The Sketches of Lee collection is not just the tale of a family’s relocation in the summer of 1957 from Brooklyn, NY to Lee, NH. It’s also a chronicle of family life as the “Index of Integration” for Lee and other New Hampshire towns.

The first book in the collection, “A Colored Man in Exeter,” is a biographical account of Harold E. Ward’s, life and times. It begins with his maternal family’s slave origins on Zachary Taylor’s plantation in 1852-54.

The second book, “The Colored Folks Ain’t Gonna Make It,” is stories of the Ward’s “normal family life” as the “Index of Integration” in Lee, NH and the local area. It encapsulates the year from 1957 until 2017, with their home “Solar Vista” as the nexus. "The early years were tough. We made it, but it wasn’t easy."

Nov 19, 2020 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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