The House at the End of the Road by W. Ralph Eubanks

Jim Richardson came from an influential family in Washington County, Alabama, and had a reputation as someone quick with a temper.  He also had property and clout, and looked out for most members of his community, despite their monetary situation or race.  He fell in love and married Edna Howell in 1914 and they set up house near the small town of Prestwick.  There was nothing unusual in this, other than the time period, setting, and the fact that Jim was white and Edna was black.

The author writes with great regard to Jim and Edna, who were his grandparents.  In their isolated community, they managed to sidestep the social mores of the early 20th century Deep South and raise a family, and they each sustained the other.  When Edna died in 1937, it could have been Jim’s prerogative to desert his children according the laws of the land, but he had far more fortitude than that, and did not. 

Eubanks explores the changes in thought within American society toward interracial marriages and how his own children perceive themselves.  He also does quite a bit of soul-searching on his own as he interviews both black and white relatives for recollections on Jim and Edna; some enlighten him, while others show a deep reluctance to talk about race and the past.  The House at the End of the Road is worth a read for devotees of Southern history, and provokes a great deal of thought concerning race and ethnicity.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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One Response

  1. Hi Will…
    I have been following your website for quite a while now..
    i always look forward to reading your reviews… keep up the good work.
    Take care.

    Ridhi
    http://www.xelf.in

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