They Got Daddy
One Family's Reckoning with Racism and Faith
by Sharon Tubbs
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Pub Date 03 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2023
Darcie Rowan PR, Quarry Books
An unforgettable journey through racism and faith across the generations.
January 15, 1959—a day that changed one family forever. White supremacists kidnapped and severely beat rural Alabama preacher Israel Page, nearly killing him because he had sued a White sheriff's deputy for injuries suffered in a car crash. After "they" "got Daddy," Israel Page's children began leaving the Jim Crow South, the event leaving an indelible mark on the family and its future. Decades later, the events of that day fueled journalist Sharon Tubbs's epic quest to learn who had "gotten" her mother's daddy and why.
They Got Daddy follows Tubbs on her moving journey from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to the back roads and rural churches of Alabama. A powerful revelation of the sustaining and redemptive power of faith and unflinching testimony to the deeply embedded effects of racism across the generations, it demonstrates how the search for the truth can offer a chance at true healing.
A Note From the Publisher
Read an excerpt in Salon posted January 2,2023
Lots of writers have tackled America's historic abuses of Black people and Black families. But few handle the subject as deftly as Sharon Tubbs, whose They Got Daddy connects the trauma which reverberated through her own family history when her grandfather was abused by powerful white people, to the larger history of Black America's attempts to survive similar oppression. Her story is poignant and carefully told, filled with telling details and powerful writing, making the case that such injustices never stay in the past, but are passed through a family's DNA in a way that makes the trauma a living thing to be coped with every day. They Got Daddy provides important lessons on how to understand — and hopefully come to terms with — a legacy of oppression which remains a potent force in America to this day. ~Eric Deggans, National Public Radio, TV Critic and Media Analyst
A gorgeous and haunting book spun so carefully you can smell the dirt roads and the shirt starch and the bologna sandwiches. You hear the poetry in the voices of the characters. You feel how suddenly darkness drops and meanness strikes, and how steadfastly the family of Preacher Page leans on its faith. A triumph of reporting and storytelling. ~Kelley Benham French, senior editor, USA Today; author of Juniper
In this compelling account of her preacher grandfather's 1959 kidnapping in the Jim Crow South, Tubbs unveils the tension between Black Americans' deep-rooted faith and their ongoing quest for full citizenship and justice. She brilliantly illustrates the persistent generational trauma that results from America's racially imbalanced social and legal systems for the oppressed and oppressor, the privileged and unprivileged, and the complacent and the activist, alike. ~Rev. Keisha I. Patrick, Esq.
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Co-op available from publisher
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
In They Got Daddy by Sharon Tubbs she shares her quest with us as she goes on a research journey to collect historical information about Black life in the twentieth century and the story of her grandparents and family. She shares powerful anecdotes from her family life that are brimming with examples of blatant discrimination, police brutality, racial injustice, and also all of the ways faith in God and the holding space of the church environment have helped her people, and Black folks, through it.
I enjoyed the timeline of events shared in Sharon's storytelling. I think her book is the blueprint for what many of us who feel disconnected from our lineage wish we could pull together in order to make a connection from the past to the present for ourselves.
I felt deeply touched by Tubb's rendering of the stories of Granddaddy and Big Mama. The events that led Graddaddy and many black men of his time turn to a pastoral calling and the ways that religion helped to soothe trouble mind and hearts. I will never forget the first time I attended a pentecostal church service with my own grandmother. The move of the spirit, the shouting, the humming, the dancing- Tubbs writes to this experience so beautifully: "After all they'd been through, the rejoiced in survival."
Readers who enjoy memoir and autobiographies will love this book. There is a way Tubb's is able to weave together the story of her own ancestors while telling the greater narrative of how the legacy of slavery has impacted and touched all of our families. And she does this with tenderness, grace, and care.
Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!
Just a few chapters in and I caught myself shaking my head in agreement time after time as I listed to They Got Daddy on my kindle app. So much of her story I was able to relate to but from the opposite side. I grew up in a racist family, by all accounts I should be racist. Just like Granddaddy got lucky that he wasn’t killed by those men, I am lucky that I had my eyes opened to a world outside what I was raised in.
Tubbs wrote this book in a way that feels almost like having a deep conversation with a friend. One where you don’t say ‘My great grand mother’ but instead you refer to her as ‘Big Momma’.
If you have ever faced racism, witnessed it or have been curious what it feel like, read this book. It is filled with raw emotion, heartfelt connection and grounded to earth experiences. This is a book that I will read again because I’m sure I missed a ton.
When reading this book, it should have you thinking about your own experiences in life. You will reflect on events where you overheard comments made and it will make you question your family, friends and even yourself on how you handled hearing racial remarks that are said in ‘good fun’ or ‘they know what I mean’.
Whew this was a powerful story. I’m so glad this was my first read of the year and a 5 star at that! I really think everyone should take the time to read this. It’s short but filled with so much history and story.
Sharon Tubbs tells the story of how the Klan got her grandfather after choosing to go to trial for a car accident that left him disabled. I loved the illustration of family values and how all of Israel’s people stood with and for him. The patriarch of his family, Israel’s story is heartfelt, historical and poignant. It’s filled with faith and resilience from generation to generation. Racism is not dead and this details all of it, past to present. It begs you to pay attention and show action, not just say you’re an ally.
This made me think of my own grandparents, especially my grandfather. He lived a hard life and worked hard making sure his children and grandchildren did not live that same life and Israel Page certainly sacrificed and wanted the same for his offspring.
A big thank-you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for giving me a copy of this book for an unbiased review.
4/5 - Really liked it.
"They Got Daddy" is an excellent example of how American "post-racial" society fails to live up to its promises. Many of us who grow up white in America are spoon-fed lovely stories of MLK's dreams for equality, which were supposedly achieved with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. But the stories told by families like those of Sharon Tubbs destroy that illusion and force us to come to terms with a heavy reckoning - there is no post-racial America. It's an uncomfortable truth for many, but one that we must face if we hope to live side-by-side in a world that truly is equal.
The title of this narrative suggests that the story will focus exclusively on Israel Page, who was kidnapped for daring to oppose a white man in court. However, the narrative delves much deeper to the trauma lived out by Page's entire family and the insidious ways in which the injustice of racism trickles down through generations. It is a powerful reminder of the slow, painful progress of change. The story is deeply personal and vulnerable, highlighting one family's struggle not only for justice but also for truth and healing, often through faith. It is massively important, especially as we are at a crossroads in our country's debate on how the past should be dealt with - whether it should be ignored for our comfort, or examined for our healing. "They Got Daddy" makes a powerful case for the latter.
Although I really appreciated the book, I did feel that the story of Israel Page was sometimes lost in the stories of his children and grandchildren (though I appreciated the vulnerability and openness from the author regarding her own experiences). I would have liked to have learned more about him specifically, the court proceedings, and what other influences drove him to make his decision regarding continuing or halting the court proceedings. However, while the story veered away from the direction I would have expected, I did value the way in which the author traced the journey of her grandfather's life down to his great-grandchildren and reflected upon the impacts of racism four generations after the titular events.
Overall, this is an important story and an important book. If we want to understand the impacts of racism on the fabric of American history and culture, we cannot stop with the Civil Rights Movement. This story does not end at that chapter, but continues on today. Narratives such as this one depict exactly how much we have yet to learn, grow, and heal.
“This story would reveal parts of who I am, as a Black woman in America, by discovering who my grandfather was.”
This was not her original intention though. She wanted to learn more about her grandfather’s legal battles and his subsequent kidnapping, that all started in 1954. Initially this research was to be strictly historical. However, it did prompt her to connect what happened then to what she and others are going through today. From this research, she learned more about herself.
Author Sharon Tubbs obtained her information from interviews, newspaper articles and filings at government offices. She met some relatives for the first time and others she hadn’t seen in years.
This absorbing account not only reveals to us of the racial incidents that happened to her family in Alabama in the mid-twentieth century, but how this past affects people today, no matter where they live. For example, she interviewed her grandfather’s brother, who at eighty-nine years old and living in Indiana felt unsafe based of what happened decades ago in Alabama. The people who could serve retribution were already dead. This fear also affects subsequent generations. This leads to the question; how can we repair “cultural trauma”?
This fear is not unfounded. For example, she describes what happened to her brother in a 1984 McDonald’s parking lot in Indiana. Just as disturbing, her nephew explained to her the continual racist attacks that he experiences during online gaming parties. Unfortunately, he says he has learned to live with it.
Tubbs structures the book going back and forth between what happened to her grandfather, her past, the role of the Church and life today. This is engaging to the reader as we learn about life from her perspective while we eagerly await to find out what finally happens to her grandfather.
"They Got Daddy" is a must- read for all people so that we can appreciate those who have experienced life differently than we have as individuals. Though we will never completely comprehend what others go through, this will give us a glimpse and a better understanding.
(This review will be posted on UnderratedReads on 2/16/23)
What I loved about this book!
1. It was a compelling, emotional memoir that everyone should read!
2. A powerful reminder that racism is not dead and must continue to be addressed.
3. Loved the combination of the author's story and journey with her grandfather's story.
What I wanted more of:
1. Her grandfather's story - the details - and more of the outcome!
2. I wanted the book to be longer because the story was captivating and needs to be told!!
Thank you to NetGalley for sharing an electronic ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This book is about American ISR EAL page. Who was a very strong man provided for his family. You did a lot of different works on different places. He also did wells and And this allowed him to provide support for his family. You had a car which was very unusual for this person.. There's a lot of different things in this book and you could see where they were trying to help each other out. But this was jim crowe. Someone had to leave the south because of the waves which Get them to trouble with the whites. When you get the history of how they have to keep working on these little pots of land and they could not really support Their families. Page was driving one day on a road. And got hit Buy a white deputy. Who was transporting a black person up to the mental hospital. They took him to the block hospital but they could not help them. There so they transformed to the white hospital they were treated very Madly. He could not work anymore so they had no money and had to spray it by. He tried to sue them to help pay for his medical bills. This made the white Deputies and people in town. Very angry so they had him kidnapped. He dropped the case because he was afraid for his life.. This is not right so every year they were talking about this and this writer named Sharon T UV wanted to find out what really happened. And started to look into the history of how this was never Really resolved. People had to leave because they were so afraid something moved up North so they could get jobs and support themselves. It's interesting book because it talks about things. We don't really want to know in history but these people had the right to sue to get money but they're so afraid for their lives they just backed down. I I think this book should be read i In high school Because it's talks about the Gym pro laws and how really affected these people.. I think history should be all tied together especially block history because we really don't know that much about it. This book was an eye opener how somebody could get hurt and not getting help
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