Family Secrets: A Writing Project Takes an Unexpected Turn

My great-grandma Florence was a vocal suffragist in our area. She made sure other women got to the polling location by taking them on horseback and providing childcare for their children at home. She had quite the operation and it is definitely a story that’s treasured in our family. It’s very inspiring. 

So of course, I wanted to write about it. I started brainstorming ideas for poems.

Then one evening I was in Barnes & Noble and I picked up a local history book. The book revealed that my family has had a lot of involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. I was shaking. I can’t say I was totally surprised — there have been random stories over the years but the truth was murky at best. But here it was plain as day in a published book on a shelf in Barnes & Noble. Five of my relatives were named as klansmen in the book.

It doesn’t seem right to write about an inspiring suffragist when the rest of the family is out doing horrible things. I can’t ignore it, so I’m going to write about all of it. 

This was an unexpected twist for a poetry book I just started and there’s so much more to this story. What I thought would be inspirational will now also be painful but it’s important to me to show the whole truth.

I will post updates as I continue working.


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