I Can't Wait to Call You My Wife
African American Letters of Love and Family in the Civil War Era
by Rita Roberts
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 17 Oct 2022
This book honors the voices of African Americans of the Civil War era through their letters, inviting readers to engage personally with the Black historical experience.
Amidst bloody battles and political maneuvering, thousands of African Americans spent the Civil War trying to hold their families together. This moving book illuminates that struggle through the letters they exchanged. Despite harsh laws against literacy and brutal practices that broke apart Black families, people found ways to write to each other against all odds. In these pages, readers will meet parents who are losing hope of ever seeing their children again and a husband who walks fifteen miles to visit his wife, enslaved on a different plantation.
The collection also includes tender courtship letters exchanged between Lewis Henry Douglass and Helen Amelia Loguen, both children of noted abolitionists, and letters sent home by the young women who traveled south to teach literacy to escaped slaves. Roberts' expert curation allows readers to see the wider historical context. The transcriptions are accompanied by reproductions of selected original letters and photographs of the letter writers.
--National and regional media outreach
--Author events; confirmed for Atlanta History Center
--Social media campaign
--Outreach to historical societies and museums
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
I loved this book so much. There’s something so special about learning history from primary sources: the people who were actually there! “I Can’t Wait To Call You My Wife” does a great job of displaying Black love in an incredibly expansive way. Most of the letters aren’t about love in the romantic sense (though some are) The letters show love as community, kinship, friendship and most of all, FREEDOM. The author takes great care to give background information and context for each of the letters as well as the time periods themselves. A bonus for me was all of the lovely pictures especially the images of the writers. This book feels really special and intimate. I received an Electronic ARC of this to review but I will definitely be purchasing a physical copy upon it’s release!
A thoughtfully organized history of the civil war. It is centered around letters written by and for enslaved persons. This book has a very important role to play in analyzing the events of the civil war from the perspective of those who were most impacted by it. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking to further educate themselves on the civil war.
I Can't-Wait to Call You My Wife
by Rita Roberts
Pub Date: October 18, 2022
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. This book honors the voices of African Americans of the Civil War era through their letters, inviting readers to engage personally with the Black historical experience.
Reasons I liked this book: 1. Roberts reframes the Civil War era by telling the story of American slavery through letters. 2. Roberts provides expert context while weaving compelling stories about individual letter writers. Readers can connect with history directly by reading actual words from the time and seeing photographs of both the letters and the writers. 3. Roberts' book challenges a notion of a monolithic Black experience during the Civil War.
Readers of Black history, Civil War history, and American history
Fans of historical letters
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