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How Far to the Promised Land: One Black Family's Story of Hope and Survival in the American South byEsau McCaulley

How Far to the Promised Land: One Black Family's Story of Hope and Survival in the American South byEsau McCaulley

Regular price $27.00 Sale

From Christian Forum Convergent Books 

From the New York Times contributing opinion writer and award-winning author of Reading While Black, a riveting intergenerational account of his family’s search for meaning and a place to call home in the American South
For much of his life, Esau McCaulley was taught to see himself as an exception: someone who, through hard work, faith, and determination, overcame childhood poverty, anti-Black racism, and an absent father to earn a job as a university professor and a life in the middle class. This account was the one he was conditioned to give, the story America demands from Black survivors. When preparing the eulogy at his estranged father’s funeral, McCaulley was forced to reexamine and face the shortcomings of that narrative about his own path to prosperity. No one “escapes” poverty; it marks us. He came to see that people, even those who harm us, are more complicated than the roles we create for them in our imagination. The way to the promised land is not a trip from poverty to success, but the journey to finding beauty even in dark places.

McCaulley chronicles his lifelong effort to understand the community that shaped him and the struggle they endured to make a home for their loved ones. We meet his great grandmother, Sophia, a tenant farmer born with the gift of prophecy, who scraped together a life in Jim Crow Alabama; his mother, Laurie, who survived a brain tumor and raised four kids alone in rough-and-tumble Northwest Huntsville; and a cast of family, friends, and neighbors who won small victories in a world built to swallow up Black lives.

Along the way, McCaulley raises questions that implicate us all: What does each person’s struggle to build a life, regardless of its outcome, teach us about what it means to be human? Where might God be found in trauma and miracle that is Black life in the American South?

Written with profound honesty and compassion, How Far to the Promised Land is a weighty examination of our most pressing societal issues and the hope that keeps us alive.