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Inspired by two popular television shows - Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots, I went on a genealogical journey to discover or reconnect with my roots. Over a three year span I interviewed relatives and collected their oral stories, photographs, and other documents on our ancestors. Additionally, I retrieved vital records and other documents from Ancestry and 23and Me. Combining all the information, I built a comprehensive profile on one of my earliest documented ancestors, Cherry Gulledge-Foote.


The Cedar Chest reconstructs Cherry’s entire life from her childhood, adulthood, and final years. The retelling of her life is a no-holds barred look at what it took for Cherry to survive the horrors of slavery and the indignities suffered during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. Whenever appropriate, I infused verbiage from the WPA’s Federal Writer’s Project Slave Narratives into the story’s dialogue to ensure the story’s authenticity and the era’s vernacular. The Cedar Chest presents an unabashedly biased point of view of America’s greatest sin against those it enslaved.


“These are the oral stories that were never told."

Cedar Chest by Subrena McCoy (Paperback)

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