Discussion, Reception, & Book Signing
Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy
Monday, May 11th, 6:00 PM
A fascination with her ancestry as the descendant of Creole slave women set Lalita Tademy on a journey to write the critically-acclaimed historical novel Cane River, which went on to become both a New York Times bestseller, and an Oprah Book Club Selection. Her follow-up, Red River, based on real evens during the Reconstruction after the Civil War, also received its fair share of praise. Many have longed for her next book, and the wait is now over. In CITIZENS CREEK: A Novel, Tademy continues to shine a spotlight on important moments in American history, and the impact they have on all Americans, of color or not.
About the Book
Lalita Tademy brings us the evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage.
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money—but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward?
Cow Tom’s legacy lives on—especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose. She rises to leadership of the family as they struggle against political and societal hostility intent on keeping blacks and Indians oppressed. But through it all, her grandfather’s indelible mark of courage inspires her—in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.
Written in two parts portraying the parallel lives of Cow Tom and Rose, Citizens Creek is a beautifully rendered novel that takes the reader deep into a little known chapter of American history. It is a breathtaking tale of identity, community, family—and above all, the power of an individual’s will to make a difference.
About the Author
Before writing full-time, Lalita was Vice President and General Manager of several high technology companies in Silicon Valley, spending over a decade running business units within large corporations. Featured in Fortune’s “People on the Rise” list, as well as Black Enterprise and Ebony, in 1998 she was named an African-American Innovator in the New Millennium at the Silicon Valley Tech Museum of Innovation. But her own interest in a family’s roots, and the ongoing issues of racism and women’s empowerment, led her to focus all of her energies on her second career – writing.
She has been featured in People Magazine, O Magazine, More Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and has appeared as a speaker for the Library of Congress and National Book Festival, the California Governor’s Conference for Women, African American Librarians – Black Caucus, Louisiana Library Association, Professional Businesswomen of California, National Association of Principals for Girls, and as a San Francisco Library Laureate.
Born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents’ southern roots, both her mother and father made sure their household (Louisiana West) maintained a definite non-California edge, including a steady supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and collard greens, and a stream of other transplanted southerners eager to share their “back-home” stories. Some version of those tales seem to steal their way into whatever she writes.
Lalita lives in northern California with her husband, Barry Williams.