Highlighting Historical Romance with Michael Scott who uncovers Weeksville a little known part of African American History.
I’m continually amazed how I as a Brooklyn-bred native New Yorker lived so ignorantly of all the history around me. Case in point: the free-Black community of Weeksville. When I pastored in Bedford-Stuyvesant almost thirty years ago I passed the houses that remain of this little town but never took the time to learn more about them.
Thirty years later I came across Judith Wellman’s Brooklyn’s Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York which inspired me to set my next historical romance in Brooklyn instead of the West. I learned:
· Weeksville was founded in 1830, three years after slavery was abolished in New York State
· Within twenty years Weeksville was a thriving community of over 500 people boasting of ministers, doctors, landowners and entrepreneurs
· Weeksville became a refuge for African-Americans fleeing the violence of the 1863 draft riots. When it was learned Weeksville might become a target of the violence too, word got out that the citizens of Weeksville were armed and ready for them. Needless to say no attack occurred.
· In 1969 instead of being demolished by an urban renewal program Weeksville instead became the site of an urban archeological dig including neighboring residents, school children, and Boy Scouts. By 1970 the remains of Weeksville were declared local landmarks by the New York City Landmarks Commission.
· Susan Smith McKinney, the first African-American female doctor in New York, was born in Weeksville. The nursing home and rehab facility where I often visited parishioners is named in her honor.
Today the Weeksville Heritage Center shares articles about Weeksville on their website: https://www.weeksvillesociety.org. Enjoy a virtual tour of the buildings while you’re there.
About the Story
“Light the Fire Again” in Fireworks, A Romance Anthology
One night in 1896 Adelaide Hanson and Hero Williams shared their hopes and dreams beneath the Coney Island boardwalk. She, to be an artist like Edmonia Lewis. He, to amass great wealth. Hero went off to start a fireworks business. Adelaide remained in Weeksville hampered by a ruined reputation until a doctor’s examination proved her still a virgin.
Two years later, Hero, now a self-made millionaire, returns to share his wealth with the community that sheltered his family from the violence of the Post-Reconstruction South. He has also returned hoping to ask Adelaide for her hand. She, however, is anticipating a marriage proposal from the son of one of the Black community’s most prominent families, despite his mother’s disapproval. Hero begs for a chance to change Adelaide’s mind. Although still in love with him, she is unwilling to risk her heart and societal opprobrium again. Then Hero makes an offer he hopes she won’t refuse: a chance to revive what they shared two years ago by viewing a private fireworks display designed especially to light the fire between them again.
About the Author
Michal Scott is the erotic romance pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, a retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. Inspired by the love mystics of Begijn, Audre Lourde and Bell Hooks, Rev. Anna writes erotic romance featuring Christian characters for whom faith plays a large part in their lives. She hopes the historical novellas she writes for the Wild Rose Press give insight into the African American experience in the US. Besides erotic romance, she writes inspirational and sweet romance as Anna Taylor and gothic romance and women’s fiction as Anna M. Taylor. Sign up for Michal’s newsletter. She’d love to keep in touch with you.
Michal Scott Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2TSHzRn
Michal Scott website: https://michalscott.webs.com/
Michal Scott newsletter sign up: https://mailchi.mp/106e6b05cdfe/michal-scotts-newsletter