thesisposted on 20.06.2014, 00:00 by M Shelly Conner
The novel depicts the story of Every (Eve) Mann’s journey to discover her family lineage. Raised in Chicago during the explosive 1950-60’s civil rights era, she knows nothing of her parents –only the overbearing love of the aunt who has raised her. By the early 1970’s, with the dwindling of Black Power politics and the mainstreaming of Black identity via black history courses on college campuses, tokenism, and reappropriation of black as beautiful; a large amount of discourse was predicated on the unification of people of African descent achieved by connections to Africa as a motherland. This “reaching back” through lineage was and still is a difficult process for African Americans due to slavery’s brutal disruptions to family lines. Additional difficulties arise when familial trauma prevents members from sharing or passing down information, as is the case in every man. Eve’s aunt refuses to divulge information about their family to Eve. When Eve takes a Black Studies course at the local community college, it rekindles her curiosity. After snooping around her aunt’s basement, she discovers information that points her to Macon County, Georgia. Encouraged by her professor, Brother LeRoi, she makes the trip which reveals the harsh realities of southern, pre-Depression era living which have culminated into Eve’s existence.