Forty-one years ago on this day, my daughter was born. And five years, 1 month and 21 days ago, my book was conceived.
I’ve been posting about my book on the Tulsa Race Riot (really a massacre, not a riot). I’ve been posting about some criticism/advice I’ve been given, since my book’s main character is young and Black and male, and I’m ancient, white-as-notebook-paper and female. (In case you want to catch up, I wrote this post and then this post.)
My book has not been published yet. An educator-artist is working on the cover, and my publisher (My publisher! My publisher!) is doing a final wade-through on my manuscript. The goal? A print schedule that will allow me to go to Tulsa (with books) for the 100-year anniversary commemoration activities at the end of May, 2021.
When I approached a nationally-known expert on the Tulsa Race Massacre (I’ve spoken to her at several national conventions) to ask her to read my manuscript and write a blurb, when she learned it was not an #OwnVoices story, she respectfully declined… and gave me some suggestions as well as some information.
|image by Pixabay|
One of the things she said made me stop dead in my tracks. She said, “I struggle with teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre at this point because I've heard from colleagues that Black Tulsans feel both glad that the story is out, but taken aback by the number of projects created about it by white people. As if their pain was material for others.”
There is no way I want to profit in any way on the backs of the massacre’s victims. No way.
In the comments to my posts, there were some great suggestions. Donate some of the book’s proceeds to a charity. Create a college scholarship for a Black Tulsan. That made me think of the Greenwood Cultural Center, an educational center focused on the Tulsa Race Massacre.
As a teacher, I know how tough it is to scrape together money to go on field trips. Perhaps my proceeds could help pay for classroom trips to the Greenwood Cultural Center. Then I considered what an impact various writing opportunities have had on my life. What if the money from my book could pay a young Black Tulsan to write a performance about the Tulsa Race Massacre for the Greenwood Cultural Center? A rapper, a songwriter, a movie maker… What if they received a grant to create something that could be seen on a screen at the center?
This is what I’m leaning toward currently. The other ideas I’m considering came from comments to my post. What other ideas do you folks have?
Sioux Roslawski is the author of a soon-to-be-published middle-grade novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre. If you'd like to read more of her writing, check out her blog.