Dwight Wilson will join us to share The Resistors, stories of slavery and the brave black, white, Native American, and multiracial men and women who fought against it.
About the Book
Wilson’s (The Kidnapped, 2018, etc.) new volume of historical fiction weaves together 24 short stories to create a remarkable, multihued portrait of America.
These are the stories of slavery and the brave black, white, Native American, and multiracial men and women who fought against it. The narrative begins in 1795. Esi and Kofi, two Fante from West Africa, were kidnapped and sent to Virginia to be sold. Esi was Fante royalty; Kofi was known for his bravery in confronting a lion. They were 12 years old. Purchased by a farmer from Daufuskie Island, they remained on his plantation until his death in 1801. Esi and Kofi (who assumed the English name Kenneth) married at 16 and were sold to Nathan Prescott of Culpeper, Virginia, to work on his “Fruits of the Spirit” plantation. They had many children, some of whom were forcibly fathered by Prescott. Kenneth earned small amounts of money on the side as a cobbler and was determined to buy his children’s freedom. Then, help appeared from another source. Quaker abolitionists established an underground railroad and offered sanctuary to those who made their way into free territory. In 1827, Kenneth’s daughter Sarah and two of her brothers were rescued by an “African-Shawnee” named Caesar and brought to live with a Quaker family in Ohio. The stories, narrated in the strong and textured voice of Sarah, span the first half of the 19th century. Here, she poignantly describes her father: “I know that Daddy was always a double-sided man: a Fante warrior dressed in a slave’s rags; dignified while disgraced.” The stories are the product of the author’s imagination, informed by years of research and personal lineage. Wilson, himself a Quaker, identifies Sarah as a “direct ancestor.” Each stand-alone tale conveys a quick snapshot of resistance, whether through overt acts of rescue/escape or the quiet refusal to submit to degradation of the soul. The conversational prose captures the cadence and imagery of the period, including racist slurs, but without contrived dialect.
Memorable characters and unique historical details illuminate slavery’s complex legacy.
About the Author
Dwight L. Wilson is father to four sons and grandfather to two grandsons and two granddaughters. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Diane, an attorney.
He spent 41 years as a school professional including serving as Headmaster and Dean as well as Assistant Chaplain at Oberlin College and Associate Dean at Marshall University. He is also a recorded Friends Minister who pastored Durham Maine Friends Meeting and is the only person of color to serve as General Secretary of Friends General Conference.
Currently he serves as Co-Director of the Washtenaw County Interfaith Round Table, helping to deepen the understanding and inter-congregation support of the myriad spiritual groups of Ann Arbor, Michigan and environs.
Among Friends, as a volunteer he has served on the national board of the American Friends Service Committee, as Clerk of Earlham School of Religion and as a trustee with Friends World College, Haverford College, Wilmington College, Medford Leas Retirement Center, Rancocas Friends School and Pendle Hill. With non-profits he has been Chair of the Wayne State Medical School Anti-Prostate Cancer Study Group, Afri-Male Institute and Burlington County Boys and Girls Club as well as a trustee with the Burlington County YMCA. SafeHouse Womens Center and Student Advocacy Center. He served seven years as Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission where for four years he chaired the Subcommittee on Police Oversight.
He has published historical fiction including The Kidnapped: A Collection of Stories, The Resistors: A Collection of Stories and six books in the series Esi Was My Mother. His book Modern Psalms in Search of Peace and Justice is fed by his Quaker faith and a lifetime of social activism. His haiku and essays on Japanese Poetry have been published in periodicals spanning the globe.
In addition to writing historical novels and modern psalms he has published both religious and educational articles in a variety of magazines and been featured author in The Inclusive School.