Marsha Hunt thought her grandmother was dead until a phone call in 1992 from a relative told her that Ernestine had been discovered alive in an old people's home in Memphis. Her first thought was to rush to her grandmother's aid, her second to try to find out why, at the age of 23, the attractive young woman, mother of three young sons and wife of a respected religious leader in Memphis, had been locked away for the rest of her life - why Ernestine had become the family skeleton who could never be mentioned. Her search leads her to confront not only truths about her family and her own life - the tragic suicide of her own father, one of the few successful black psychiatrists in America in the 1940s, features very large - but also unpalatable truths about the nature of black society both during the 20s and 30s and today as it continues the struggle to emerge from the shadow of slavery and racism.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
'Maybe she was never crazy. They used to lock women up to just stop them talking…'
At the beginning of the 1920s in Memphis, Tennessee, Ernestine Hunt's future seemed bright. She was young, pretty, had graduated from school with flying colours, had married her ex-school teacher – soon to become a respected leader of the black community – and had three healthy sons. Yet she was to spend over fifty years in a mental institution before her granddaughter, the actress and writer Marsha Hunt, discovered she was still alive.
Why did Ernestine suffer such a terrifying fate? Why did even the mention of her name become a family taboo?
In an effort to find answers to the mysteries of her grandmother's past and to restore dignity to her remaining years, Marsha became caught up again in her father's family. Travelling to the Deep South, visiting her grandfather's home and friends, battling for hospital and legal records, she turned over the secrets and inconsistencies that others might prefer to remain hidden. Her search for her grandmother's history – never easy, often frustrated, deeply moving – became a quest not just for the soul of a woman but of a family, a race and a nation.
"Marsha Hunt's determined quest to track down the grandmother she'd never met and to delve into the neglected old lady's family history had me enthralled from start to finish… absorbing, tender, tough, thought-provoking, a truly magnificent achievement"
VAL HENNESSEY, 'Daily Mail'
Marsha Hunt was born in 1946 and grew up in Philadelphia. She studied at the University of California in Berkeley during the student riots of the 1960s but soon left for Europe.
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS LTD, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 2253364