Thank you, Mom, for the love of history


English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a y...

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a younger man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My mother died this week. While I set up this blog to put forward educational information on The Great Migration, I feel I would be sorely remiss if I did not pay tribute to my mother. Her overall feeling was that people did not pay enough attention to history and we had to do more to get them to understand it’s value to our lives and its richness. She did this through her genealogical research, and I use historical romance to do mine. She was my sounding board in many ways, and  made it a point to interrogate me on my projects, just as I had done the same for her.

She was all on board with The Bledsoe Sisters.  But she continued to remind me of how there were so many stories that needed to be told.  When I published my first blog post, she was proud of it, but then followed up with an e-mail about many other series and story ideas, enough to keep me busy for decades, and I had to remind her that I had only written one blog post.

You see, she was the one who used her retirement years to trace our family’s history back to that landmark year of 1776.  This may mean small potatoes to some, but in African American genealogy it is no small feat to “break the “wall” before 1870, the first census where African Americans are recorded as people. A remarkable accomplishment.

I will miss our many debates about history and historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, discussions about genealogical reality shows, and whether people understood how close we are to the past.  She had laughed and found particular resonance in comedian Louis C.K.’s comment about how slavery was “just two 75 year old ladies” away.

Since she was my best friend, I would share with her my frustrations about how the publishing industry does not seem very open to my ideas.  So, to me, my mother is going forward stir things up a bit, “nudge” as we say in the writing world, and see what could be holding things up in the delay of spreading this love of history.  She is my guardian angel now and her name will always be on any dedication page of anything I ever publish.  I start today.

Rest in peace, Lilia C. Huguley, and thank you for the love of history.

18 thoughts on “Thank you, Mom, for the love of history

  1. A wonderful and moving tribute to your mother. A friend once told me there are people who act as the historians and keep the family stories alive. Your mother was certainly that. And then there are the storytellers….that’s you.

  2. I’m so sorry, Piper, but how wonderful that she left you such a legacy. My mother passed away this year as well. She is the one who showed me how important books are by example, and was also the biggest supporter of my writing.

  3. Your mother left a wonderful legacy in you, Piper, and I’m sure she was very proud. (And I’m terribly impressed by 1776–my ancestors came from Germany to Wisconsin in the late nineteenth century. That makes us the newcomers!)

  4. Piper,

    You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers the past week. When you lose a loved one, it leaves a hole in the heart, but the memories help fill it up. Your post reminded me of the legacy my mother left me. Her ancestors came from England, probably on the debtors ships, but no one admitted that. Though she never had time to read much herself, she supplied me with books, especially the classics. I have my first dedication page too.

    Wish I’d known your mother. She sounds like a great lady.

  5. My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother, Piper. It’s a blessing to hear how close you two were. Hang on to those precious memories. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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