Harris County, Georgia, 1912. A white man, the beloved nephew of the county sheriff, is shot dead on the porch of a black woman. Days later, the sheriff sanctions the lynching of a woman and three men, all African American and all of them innocent. In The Family Tree, Karen Branan, the great-granddaughter of the sheriff, digs deep into the past to deliver a shattering historical memoir a century after that horrific day.

       

A gripping story of racism and power, anger and atonement, The Family Tree 

transports readers to a small Southern town steeped in racial tension and bound by powerful family ties. Branan takes us back in time to the Civil War, demonstrating how plantation politics and the Lost Cause movement set the stage for the fiery racial dynamics of the 20th century: mob rule and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, miscegenation and a powerful, circular bigotry which would not relent.  We meet the cowardly figures who acted from a place of fear and according to a herd mentality, and we come to know those who fought for a better day, heroines of the anti-lynching movement, brazen women like Ida Wells and Anna Julia Cooper who, through their speaking and writing and assembling, refused to sit idly by.  . 

 

Through all of this, what emerges is a gripping new understanding of the 

violence that occurred on that awful day in 1912 -- the echoes of which are still resounding today-- and the knowledge that it is only through facing our ugliest truths that we can move forward to a place of harmony and understanding.

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© 2016 by Karen Branan