August 15, local author Jack White will appear at the library in Eldersburg along with Warren Dorsey to talk about the work of nonfiction, In Carrie’s Footprints: the Long Walk of Warren Dorsey. This is the true story of Warren, and his struggles as a young black boy to escape rural poverty in Sykesville and overcome the seemingly insurmountable cultural and financial obstacles standing between his reality and his dreams.
Who is Warren Dorsey?
He was born in 1920 to the daughter of a former slave. He was raised along with 11 other children, by his mother, Carrie, in a home without electricity or running water, and with very little money. What she did have was the resourcefulness to meet her family’s basic needs and the determination to get her kids through school in a world where anything but was expected of them.
Warren went on to become a gifted singer, a natural mathematician, and eventually a scientist. He served in the army during WW II, had a long career in microbiology, and a career as a teacher and principal in mostly all-white schools in Maryland.
How did Jack and Warren get together?
Jack met Warren on a sunny winter day at the old schoolhouse in Sykesville. He wrote this story about the day, and soon after, Warren contacted Jack to inquire about working on the story together. It took Jack and Warren about a year or so to do interviews over Skype – Warren sitting in his home in Frederick with his wife Carolyn by his side, and Jack at his laptop in Sykesville. Then around another year for Jack to write the story, and for him and his wife to put together the published book using the print-on-demand service CreateSpace. The book was released in November 2014, just in time for Christmas, and a packed event in early December at the Old Schoolhouse where it all started, and where Warren and his sister Rosie entertained everyone with stories and song.
So, What’s the Story Really About?
We can’t really say it better than Jack can. From Jack’s website:
So what’s the story about?
Well, lots of things. Being black in a segregated town in a segregated country. Being poor. Really poor. Being the grandson of a slave, sleeping three to a bed in a room so cold, you left a cup of water out over night, you had an ice cube in the morning, living without electric and running water, walking over the course of several years 10,000 miles to and from school.
Pursuing a mother’s dreams. Working on farms for 10 cents an hour, hearing a farmer say, “Boy, you know a nigger ain’t got sense enough to teach.” Then proving him wrong 30 years later.
Holding back the anger. Living on pride, willpower, determination, hard work, and brains. Making it to college, getting sick twice and running out of money to see a doctor, watching the campus population dwindle to nothing because of the world’s worst war, winning a prestigious scholarship, only to lose it to the war, singing in a wartime army choir, meeting another singer in the USO club, and marrying her.
It’s about a small dying town. It’s about an impoverished black neighborhood in that small dying town. It’s about a slave, a slave’s daughter, a slave’s daughter’s troubled husband, and their brutal struggle to survive.
It’s about sons and daughters and moms and dads. It’s about race and hardship and finding a way out. Finding a way out and forward no matter what. It’s about America, man.
Or maybe it’s about more, or less, or something altogether different. Click the link and find out for yourself: In Carrie’s Footprints: The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey.
Attend the Event
Local Author Event: Jack McBride White with Warren Dorsey at the Eldersburg Branch Library August 15 at 2pm.
Please join us for an exciting author event with Warren Dorsey and Jack McBride White as they discuss White’s book, In Carrie’s Footprints: The Long Walk of Warren Dorsey. Mr. White’s truly uplifting book takes us on a wonderfully researched and beautifully written journey with Carroll County, Maryland’s Dorsey family. Mr. Dorsey, who is 94, and the grandson of a slave, will speak of his family’s resilience and strength in the face of discrimination and extreme poverty.
A Celebrating America program.