Retired educator to read from her novel

January 30, 2013 

Geraldine Phillips-Davis, a retired educator who also served as a columnist and feature story writer for The Miami Times, has written her first book, “In Spite of Color: From the Plantations to the White House.”

Originally from Fitzgerald, Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a master’s degree from Barry University. She moved to Warner Robins to be near her daughter about 12 years ago after her husband died. This is her first book.

Tuesday at Summer’s Landing of Warner Robins, located at 600 S. Kimberly Road, Davis will read from her book and sign copies. This event is open to the public and will be in the library at Summer’s Landing from 1-2:30 p.m. Copies of the book will be for sale and refreshments will be provided.

A high school counselor in Miami, Davis worked for 15 years on weekends for The Miami Times. She said that during her days as a reporter and a columnist, she knew that she wanted to one day write a book.

“Having read other books about slavery and African-Americans, I knew that so many basically focused on the brutality on the slavery system,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to write about my people, but I wanted to write a book from a more positive perspective.”

“In Spite of Color: From the Plantations to the White House” is the story of two men, one a slave and one a master, their relationship and the relationships of their offspring.

The story covers the two families from the time prior to the Civil War to present day.

“The master trusted the slave, and the slave trusted the master,” Davis said. “When the Yankees set his mansion on fire, the slave saves him.”

The children of the slave and the master grow up together. Throughout the novel, fate brings the offspring together over and over.

“My emphasis is on trust and friendship,” Davis said. “This is a story of how friendship and trust can transcend ethnic groups, language, color and racial barriers.”

The back cover of the book depicts a slave cabin with a path leading away from it. Davis said that was symbolic of slaves moving away from slavery.

Davis set out to write her book with two goals in mind. She wanted it to be entertaining, but she also wanted it to be educational.

To that end, she spent hours upon hours researching slaves and slave masters and conducted many interviews. She also visited Charleston, S.C., to see firsthand where slave ships arrived and slaves were auctioned.

“I learned a lot,” said Davis. “I learned that there were exceptions to the notion that all masters were brutal. All masters were not brutal.”

Along with hoping to change the idea many blacks have about the brutality of all slave masters, Davis hopes to change the opinion many whites have about slaves.

“They were so ingenious, so brave,” Davis said of slaves. “So many fought long before the civil rights movement to free themselves.”

Through her research, Davis said she learned so many things about slavery that she felt compelled to share it through her book.

“I just felt like I should unveil this information to people,” Davis said. “My hope is that this book can change attitudes.”

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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