In Carrie’s Footprints by Jack White

Emerson, Mae and Warren Dorsey in front of the one-room schoolhouse in Sykesville.

Emerson, Mae and Warren Dorsey in front of the one-room schoolhouse in Sykesville.

In Carrie’s Footprints: The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey (Amazon) is the story of a town, a family, and an era.

The town is Sykesville, Maryland, as viewed from the perspective of a poor black family. The book contains more information about the town’s history than any other book ever written.

The family is the Dorseys of Sykesville, and most specifically concerns Carrie Dorsey, the impoverished daughter of a slave, and her dedicated son, Warren, the 94-year-old grandson of a slave, who took his mother’s dreams and made them real.

The era was the hundred years between the end of the Civil War and the end of the Civil Rights era, and really up into modern times, as Warren looks back on his long, tough, successful climb out of poverty.

But what’s it really about?

Well here’s what the author says on his blog.

It’s about lots of things. It’s about being black in a segregated town in a segregated country. Being poor. Really poor. Being the grandson of a slave, sleeping three to a bed in a room so cold, you left a cup of water out over night, you had a cube of ice in the morning, living without electric and running water, walking over the course of several years 10,000 miles to and from school.

Pursuing a mother’s dreams. Working on farms for 10 cents an hour, hearing a farmer say, “Boy, you know a nigger ain’t got sense enough to teach.” Then proving him wrong 30 years later.

Holding back the anger. Living on pride, willpower, determination, hard work, and brains. Making it to college, getting sick twice and running out of money to see a doctor, watching the campus population dwindle as the world’s worst war drains it of men, winning a prestigious scholarship, only to lose it to the war, singing in a wartime army choir, meeting another singer in the USO club, and marrying her.

It’s about a small dying town. It’s about an impoverished black neighborhood in that small dying town. It’s about a slave, a slave’s daughter, a slave’s daughter’s troubled husband, and their brutal struggle to survive.

It’s about sons and daughters and moms and dads. It’s about race and hardship and finding a way out. Finding a way out and forward no matter what. It’s about never giving up. It’s about endurance, confidence, faith, and family. It’s about America, man.

Or maybe it’s about more, or less, or something altogether different. Click the link and find out for yourself: In Carrie’s Footprints: The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey.

You can get In Carrie’s Footprints at Carroll County Public Libraries, at A Likely Story Bookstore on Main St. in Sykesville, or here on in both paperback and Kindle.

Keep an eye out for events and book signings featuring both Jack and Warren. The show can’t go on forever, but it’s a good one.

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