In distinctive, engaging prose, S. R. Martin Jr. crafts the story of his forebears and their westward journey, begun even before the great black migration that occurred around the two world wars.
By narrating the struggles and triumphs of his family—both paternal and maternal—during their move west, he illuminates an under-studied facet of African American history. As Martin explains it, he and his brother “arrived on the scene at the confluence of these family streams in time to catch a ride to the shining sea.”
Students, scholars, and interested general readers of modern African American history and sociology will be greatly rewarded by reading this warm and vivid personal and family memoir.
S. R. MARTIN JR. retired from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 1997 after a distinguished career as teacher, scholar, and administrator of the school. His essays, reviews and stories have been published in the Seattle Review, Journal of Western African American Culture, and Obsidian II. His Ph.D. in American Studies is from Washington State University.
What Readers Are Saying:
“A Black Family’s Western Saga is a valuable book. We need more like it. It contributes to filling a deep lacuna in both our general historical and our scholarly knowledge. Martin joins Quintard Taylor, Shirley Ann Moore, and Albert S. Broussard, as part of a small collection of authors who can be counted on the fingers of one hand who are laying the foundation for understanding a critical aspect of U.S. society and culture. The book opens a window to an unusually illuminating perspective on the human condition. This is made possible by the breadth of Martin’s scholarship and the depth of his humanity. This work is history, anthropology, sociology, religious and American studies, it is also very personal. It took a lot of courage to write this book: first, the courage to look, then the courage to say. Let us hope it leads others to follow in Dr. Martin’s footsteps to the shining sea.” --David Covin, emeritus professor of Pan African Studies and Government; past president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists