Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jessie Morgan-Owens's "Girl in Black and White"

Jessie Morgan-Owens is the dean of studies at Bard Early College in New Orleans, Louisiana. A photographer with the team Morgan & Owens, she received her doctorate from New York University and lives in New Orleans with her family.

Morgan-Owens applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Girl in Black and White: The Story of Mary Mildred Williams and the Abolition Movement, and reported the following:
I turned to page 99 of Girl in Black and White and found the opening page (mostly blank) for "Part Three: Becoming Ida May." The crazy thing is, Ford Madox Ford was right to an extent -- I cannot speak to the quality of the three words found on page 99, but I will say that "becoming Ida May" is what this book is about. Mary Mildred Williams, an unknown girl from an enslaved family, became known as a fictional character "Little Ida May," the title character of the novel Ida May by Mary Hayden Green Pike, for the three months following her manumission in 1855. This marks the moment where seven-year-old Mary leaves behind enslavement, and when Senator Charles Sumner pushes her to center stage of the abolitionist debates around race. In other words, the true heart of the story! The previous 98 pages are the story of her family's struggle toward freedom; the following will be their journey through the limelight to a private life.
Visit Jessie Morgan-Owens's website.

--Marshal Zeringue