LIBERTIE

LIBERTIE - Tanzania
  • LIBERTIE - Tanzania
Description :

Based on the life of Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first Black woman to become a doctor in the state of New York, this novel is told by her daughter Libertie, who loses her father at a very early age and is taught medical procedures by her determined mother during the Civil War period. Of very dark skin and a freewoman, unlike her mother who could “pass”, Libertie sees how there is now a bit of hope for a better future. When she is sent off to college for science classes in preparation for her own medical career, Libertie instead becomes entranced by two female students, gospel singers, and decides to be an impresario, bringing them back East to perform, without disclosing to her mother that she herself had been dismissed from college. She is obviously on a different path than her mother, but what exactly IS her path? When Libertie returns to Brooklyn, she meets and falls in love with her mother's young protégé, Emmanuel, who brings her to Haiti with the hopes of starting a clinic. Libertie is distressed to be sharing her home with her father-in-law Bishop Chase, who has molested many young women in the parish, and Emmanuel’s sister Ella, who has been driven mad by bearing witness to the abuse. Still believing in her husband but yearning for her mother back in Brooklyn, Libertie is faced with a difficult choice when she becomes pregnant. Libertie's perspective and thoughts are beautifully expressed and the reader cannot help but be lovingly concerned with a woman of such intelligence, with so little direction.

Quote: "It is a strange thing, to see something you have imagined over and over again finally acted out in front of you. It is almost like a kind of death, a loss of something, that the thing is not as you has thought it would be.

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