Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953. Over the last several Arkansas years, Gracie Hall-Hampton had become somewhat callous in manner. Friends, family,as well as foe, say dealing with her could be a difficult task. Some say she’d gone from a sweet innocent young girl to a mean quick tempered old woman. She always had her shotgun near, with a four inch all-purpose pocket knife in the lone pocket of her trademark full-bodied specialty made housewives apron. I guess over the years, she felt the need to defend her family, property, or self could come at any moment. She just wanted to be ready.
One can understand how a single mother must be the rock in the family, especially in the rural areas of a segregated South. Given where she and her family lived, one can also understand why she had to be tough to fend for herself and those she loved. In some ways, she took on the personality of a frontier woman blazing a trail for others to follow.
Raising five children, after her husband died was a tough assignment. She had to be a teacher after school was out, a mother when one of own was physically or emotionally hurt, a strong, kind, or stern disciplinarian whenever a situation call for it. She had to provide the voice of wisdom and experience to young folks who thought they had the answers to all problems. But most of all, she had to be the protector of her family when it came to dealing with people, especially the local white folk.
She, maybe a little grudgingly, took on all those and other roles required at specific times. As time went on, she realized that she could not be hesitant in making decisions. She had to convince some by proving that she was neither weak nor reluctant to do whatever was necessary for her and family to survive. Those who dared to challenge her authority found they’d better arm themselves because it would be a fight to the death.
To some, she was a sweet old lady who made the best tea cakes and other sweet treats. She was just as enjoyable as she had to be to get her way. A testament of her character all depended on who were providing the information. There was one common fact in all the conversations and inquires. One did not cross this little five foot mother of five or there would be consequences.
For me, little Codis, a young wide eyed five year old kid. She was just Grandma. I was sent south because my father and mother, who were still living in Milwaukee, were going through a separation period which finally ended in divorce. I stayed with my grandma and her youngest daughter almost a couple of years.
She maintained her gruff personality even after moving to Milwaukee. She told me the story of a visit to the county hospital-clinic. She was there for a physical checkup but quickly became annoyed while taking the exam. She told me, “I told that doctor to stop poking me all over and he would not, so I chased him out of the room with my pocket knife.” As I recall, there were no charges, they simply told her she was in excellent health and could go back home now. I never did find out if she had the same doctor the following year.
Being brought up in the city, with all of its conveniences of indoor plumbing, electricity, modern medicine, yearly evolving personal and public transportation, along with public communication tools, i.e., Telegram and telephones, we took those things for granted.
Think about those who came before us in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who were first introduced into this world by a midwife working under a kerosene lamp, using boiling well water and the determination of the expectant mother to deliver her baby as tools of the midwifes trade.
I wrote this book so that my family and others could get to know Gracie Hall-Hampton, who was born in 1904 and died in 1985, eighty-one years later. I wanted my sons, daughter, and their sons or daughters to understand her. They should know how this five foot woman survived in a segregated South. Limited to an eighth grade education, living in the deep woods, nestled up to a tree line of woods, where black bears, wolves, coyotes and an occasional mountain lion roamed, see how she rose above and survived her environment. All while managing to raise five children in that environment, even after the death of her husband.
I wanted people to understand just who and where this little quiet woman, until somebody got her stirred up, came from. What motivated her to keep going? I hope that readers get an understanding of what it was like to live in a place where a black person could disappear never to be found again in Jim Crows back yard.
After finishing the book, while lying in the bed early one morning, I was thinking about what I tried to accomplish as the book’s author. I suddenly remembered how surreal I felt while proofing the section I wrote about the birth of my grandmothers first child, who happened to be my future father. Thoughts of did I do it justice? Was I respectful enough to the moment? Was I detailed enough for a reader to feel how it could have been? My answer to those questions and others were I wrote what I felt as a Hampton. My family and you (the readers) will judge my effort as the book’s author.
This book should be read by all people of color and thoroughly by black people. The stories here and those you have heard from your elders should be compared so that one can see, our people was here and allowed us enjoy freedoms they did not have. No other race of people has been mentally, physically challenged throughout their entire world history up through today, for simply being on earth as have black people. The closest that come to this type of degradation and stereotyping is the Jewish people during World War II.
As Americans, regardless of color, we have the chance and obligation to be the shining light that America is supposed to stand for. If we do that, this country will be truly recognized as the ideal society in which to make a life for you and our children.
Grandma Gracie had an abundance of common sense and loved her family. She always took the time to listen to me, as a kid and a man, while offering advice where needed. I hope that she is at God’s side and are aware of this book’s publication that is dedicated in her memory. I, like most of us, can only hope that somebody, anybody will take the time to write about our accomplishments, disappointments, and obstacles we overcame. It would be gratifying if somebody would take the time to record our story that we once lived and contributed to the growth of mankind. And, as they say, we played the hand we were dealt. Here’s to you with love, grandma.
This book is now on sale. You can order through my publishers, Author House, bookstore website at http://www.authorhouse.com Or through online stores like Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble (bn.com). You can also call our Book Order Hotline, at 1-888-280-7715. You can order by title, ISBN number listed below or my name as the author.
Published by Author House 11/20/2013
ISBN: 978-1-4918-3113-7 (sc)= Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-4918-3112-0 (hc)= Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-4918-3111-3 (e) = E Book Format
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013919268
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.
Notice to all:
Please note the original book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953, has been reissued for sale. If for some reason you cannot find the book, please contact the author at email@example.com. Otherwise, E Book, Hard Cover and Paper Back Formats are available at the publishers website of http://www.authorhouse.com/AuthorCenter/, It is also available at http://www.amazon.com/Gracie-Hall-Hampton-Arkansas-Years-1917-1953/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Gracie-Hall-Hampton-the-Arkansas-Years-by-Codis-Hampton-II?store=allproducts&keyword=Gracie+Hall-Hampton%2C+the+Arkansas+Years%
Thanks to all who have read the book and gave it such high praise. It let me know that I was successful in how I portrayed the main characters. It also keeps me hard at work on the next novel for your reading pleasure. Once again, thanks for your support and kind words.
All the Best,
Codis Hampton II
Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953
New book captures joy, sorrows of one resilient matriarch
The history of a woman, her family and their country is revealed in ‘Gracie Hall-Hampton’
Codis Hampton II grew up in Milwaukee. He enlisted in the army at the age of 17 and did a tour in Korea in 1963. He has worked as a small business owner and as a government employee. His passion for writing and history flourished after his retirement, and he continues to live and write in Pittsburg, Calif.
A Note from a friend at ProfessionalNet,
From Angela Cleo Smith, sent Mar 20, 2014
“I love the book. Honestly, I have been reading it in sections. I have a 3 week break from school that frees up some time for me, so I will delve into it more!
What I like is the story telling. How can you write a story that flows so vividly? Is this your memory?
I put myself into the storyline. This story can be anyone’s story. Even how you explain the details, the food on the table, etc.
I can see this in a film. Or, would like to. But, the film is in your head while reading it. Thanks for sharing your story through Grandma Gracie.
I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the story of Ms. Gracie and how she evolved throughout her life. The love that Ms. Gracie had for Mr. John was unmatched, superb, genuine, and divine. I admired the fact that she persevered through the tough times after the death of her husband and even when her children left for a better life to Milwaukee. Most importantly Ms. Gracie reminds me a lot of myself: a strong, resilient, independent, do the right thing, faithful woman of God who went through the obstacles of pain, joy, happiness, and sadness for her family. All in all Gracie Hall-Hampton is a true SHE-ro to Lameka Nalls Hampton. I am humbly moved and thankful to be a part of the Hampton family and this is truly a piece of family history that will live on forever! God bless you Mr. Hampton and thank you! Lameka Nalls Hampton, Atlanta GA area
I read the book and I thought it was great,it was good reading. Keep your head up, pray, pray and things have a way of working out Louis Johnson, Milwaukee, WI area
I loved this book. Codis was able to weave history and a great story into an eminently readable book. Maureen Kreklow, SF-Oakland Bay Area
Author House.com, our publisher specs, ISBN and cost per book format are as follows,
- Title: Gracie Hall-Hampton
- Subtitle: The Arkansas Years, 1917-1953
- Project ID: 490047
- Author Name: Codis Hampton II
- Pen Name: Codis Hampton II
- Genre: FIC000000
- Author: Hampton II
|9781491831120||6×9 Dust Jacket Hardcover||$31.99||Title Live|
|9781491831137||6×9 Perfect Bound Softcover||$23.95||Title Live|