Dr. Tani D. Sanchez, an Associate professor of Africana Studies at the University of Arizona, will read from her newly published book, Didn’t Come From Nothing: An African American Story of Life.
This genealogical narrative focuses on a black family but incorporates historical research with Native American and European American aspects. Based on oral tradition and years of academic research, the book is a treasure trove of stories and whispered words bequeathed and treasured for generations.
It begins with a Union soldier from Maryland and a former slave in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In a hotbed of Confederacy, they chose to marry each other. Against the odds, this couple would become well-known, respected and wealthy in their southern home, but various disaster loomed ahead. Nonetheless, their descendants would remember them with pride. Descendants spread from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Arizona and to Texas, Michigan, California and beyond. One of their grandchildren, the author's grandmother Mary Louise Wright-Euell became part of a great migration that took her, her husband and her children to McNary in Northern Arizona. From there, they migrated to Tucson.
Dr. Sanchez will share her experiences of more than 30 years of writing and researching the family as well as incorporating contemporary DNA results to find new family.