Synopses & Reviews
In this thoroughly engaging family chronicle Buckley (The Hornes) reveals an expansive tapestry of African American history since the Civil War. The story begins with her great great grandfather Moses Calhoun a freed slave turned businessman. Buckley never loses sight of the broad canvas even when her mother singer and actress Lena Horne “unavoidably becomes the star of the story.” Giants of African American culture often personally connected to the Calhouns move fluidly through the pages among them W.E.B. Du Bois Paul Robeson and Walter White. The family itself produced poets physicians politicians military men educators and journalists as well as a gambler and “rake” connected to the 1919 Black Sox scandal. But as Buckley shows for all of the comfort of their middle class status the Calhouns also lived under the shadow of lynchings riots and racist legislation. With branches in both New York City and Atlanta the family was involved with Reconstruction politics in the South and Depression era Communist organizing in the North as well as the civil rights movement. Ever present details of domestic life (courtship marriage children family squabbles divorces) hold the sprawling tale together. Buckley’s awesomely informative shout out to the Calhouns is a treat to read. Agent: Lynn Nesbit Janklow and Nesbit. (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
In The Black Calhouns, Gail Lumet Buckleydaughter of actress Lena Hornedelves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights.
Beginning with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, Buckley follows her family s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. Through the lens of her relatives momentous lives, Buckley examines major events throughout American history. From Atlanta during Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, and then from World War II to the Civil Rights Movement, this ambitious, brilliant family witnessed and participated in the most crucial events of the 19th and 20th centuries. Combining personal and national history, The Black Calhouns is a unique and vibrant portrait of six generations during dynamic times of struggle and triumph."