BATAVIA – At a time when almost no women own and edit newspapers, Pearl Goodbar risks her family’s financial future to buy a defunct weekly.
Before she can get the paper up and running, her husband loses his job, Governor Orval Faubus initiates a new crisis in the state capital, and the adult son of black businesswoman Sadie Rose Washington disappears. The mystery of his whereabouts di lei brings the two women – one white and one black, but both of them mothers – together and leaves Pearl facing business decisions that could lead to more money woes and even physical harm to herself and those close to her. Meanwhile, a prominent white man hides a dark secret that Sadie Rose knows but will not tell.
Set in fictional Unionville, Arkansas, George Rollie Adams’s new book “Found in Pieces” unfolds during the second year of turmoil over Governor Orval Faubus’s determination to stop the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.
Adams, retired president and CEO of Strong National Museum of Play, will be at Richmond Memorial Library for a talk and signing on 7 pm Wednesday. This is his second time of him coming to Batavia; Adams came two years ago to discuss his book “South of Little Rock” which examines race, family and small town life in the context of the Little Rock desegregation crisis.
“Found in Pieces,” recipient of five previous national and international awards for historical and social issues fiction, explores the tension between business considerations and editorial policy in journalism during the Civil Rights era in the South.
“It is a topic which has current traction,” Adams said. “I didn’t want to editorialize about the current circumstances of media, but I did want to present the kinds of pressures and struggles that editors went through in the 1950s and 1960s covering Civil Rights. Where they might do something or say something that is contrary to the community popular beliefs, so therefor lose advertisers or subscribers. “
In his talk, Adams will go into detail how newspapers changed between World War II and the Civil Rights era.
“Found in Pieces” has some of the same secondary characters as “South of Little Rock,” but has different major characters. Readers don’t need to read “South of Little Rock” to follow the story in “Found in Pieces” as both are self-contained stories.
Adams said he has spoken with people who have lived during the Civil Rights era, particularly in the north, who said while they knew about Civil Rights, they didn’t know how it was. There were things happening to people which they didn’t know about.
“I wanted to write about how people from different perspectives reacted to what was going on. I wanted to tell an interesting and engaging story. I wanted to tell something about history. I wanted to speak up for Civil Rights, ”Adams said. “I also wanted to show that not everyone living in the South during the Civil Rights era was either wearing a white robe or marching somewhere carrying a sign in favor of desegregation – most (white) people were somewhere in the middle.”
Copies of the book are available to check out at the library prior to the program and will be available for sale by the author at the event for $ 15 (paperback) or $ 20 (hardcover), cash or check.
This event is free and all are welcome. It is best suited to older teens and adults.
Adams is a native of southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education. His previous novel by him, “South of Little Rock” received four independent publishers’ awards for regional and social issues.
Adams has served as a writer, editor, and program director for the American Association for state and local history and as director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. He is president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play.
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