In his just-published book, “Genevieve’s Little Ways,” George Graham proposes one way of repaying the descendants of slaves for the horror their ancestors endured.
His protagonist is resolved to launch a program, funded in part by private philanthropists and in part by her island’s government, that would provide education, health and a brighter future for the children afflicted by the legacy of slavery.
The massive initiative would not only revive the island’s agricultural base, decimated by global trade policies, but also generate funds for new schools, universities, hospitals and health clinics,
The book tells the story of a young woman who is distraught when she discovers her family once owned slaves. She resolves to make amends – but how? The wronged slaves are long dead. And on Genevieve’s island, many descendants of slaves are also descended from slave owners.
But she knows that thousands of her island’s children who are born in poverty today are suffering from the colonial government’s decision to compensate slave owners but provide no safety net for the emancipated slaves.
“Children are being born in poverty, without enough to eat, without a decent home, without good education, without even the most basic health care,” Genevieve tells members of the island’s Parliament. “And why? Because their ancestors long ago were slaves. These children are being punished, not for their own sins or the sins of their forefathers, but for the sins of our forefathers.”
It’s tempting not to take Genevieve seriously. She is struggling to recover from a nervous breakdown caused by her parents’ death in a plane crash. And her behavior sometimes seems odd. But she holds on to her dream despite personal heartbreaking personal challenges and seemingly impenetrable political roadblocks.
“Genevieve’s Little Ways” is available at Lulu.