Sunday, March 6, 2011
Betty DeRamus restores history's missing pages
The Detroit News columnist and former Free Press editorial writer recently spoke to the Detroit chapter of Women in Communications about her two books of personal stories from the underground railroad: "Forbidden Fruit: Love stories from the underground railroad" and "Freedom by Any Means: True stories of cunning and courage on the underground railroad."
DeRamus' interest in the underground railroad began in 1999 and culminated first in "Forbidden Fruit" in 2005, followed by "Freedom by Any Means" in 2009, which was just released in paperback.
DeRamus left her newspaper in order to research and write her first book when she was denied a leave of absence not knowing if it would be possible to return later.
Still, DeRamus said she was drawn to these personal stories and it became her mission to restore these "missing pages in American history. But perhaps more importantly, she wanted to help these people regain their humanity.
About one-fifth of the stories contained in "Forbidden Fruit" are set in Michigan.
DeRamus described slavery as a "multifaceted institution" that varied in its accommodations from place to place.
"It's not one story, (but) a million stories," she said. "They were human, questioning, loving, moving and traveling."
Read an excerpt from "Forbidden Fruit" on Betty DeRamus' website.
Both books are available from Amazon.com, just click the links above.
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