New book explores how racism is passed down through generational trauma

Sharon Tubbs is the author of “They Got Daddy: One Family’s Reckoning with Racism and Faith.” She joined CultureShift to share her story.

graphic of the book cover for "They Got Daddy: One Family's Reckoning with Racism and Faith" by Sharon Tubbs, alongside a picture of Sharon Tubbs

Sharon Tubbs, author of "They Got Daddy: One Family's Reckoning with Racism and Faith."

Sharon Tubbs is a journalist and author. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. Currently,  Tubbs is an inspirational speaker, and the owner of Move Forward Communications. She is also the director of a nonprofit organization that empowers underserved residents in Fort Wayne, Indiana to live healthier lives.

Her most recent book is called, “They Got Daddy: One Family’s Reckoning with Racism and Faith,” and it follows her own family’s painful history with the Jim Crow South.

As a young girl, Tubbs says she knew that something bad happened in her family that was rarely brought up. Her grandfather, Israel Page, was a proud and beloved man from Alabama. He was a preacher and was well-known in his small town.

One day while out driving, Page was hit by a police sheriff. He was injured and wanted justice, so Page set out to sue the sheriff. This was 1954.

Page was kidnapped, beaten and left for dead by white supremacists. Tubbs says this story has moved through her family like a plague, leaving scars that they didn’t even know existed.

“In finding out that broader story… we begin to find out more about ourselves.” — Sharon Tubbs, author

Through research of court cases and personal accounts, Tubbs weaves and connects her family’s trauma to a country of people who have yet to heal those wounds. She remembers finding information about what had happened to her grandfather in the news.

“The Bar Association came out with an actual statement I found, and that was printed in the newspaper where they they demanded justice for the ‘good Negro, Israel Page,'” Tubbs recalls. “And the owner of the well drilling company for which he worked, after the beating, he made his way to his house, Mr. Radford’s house, that next morning. Mr. Radford did then drive him home, and he was furious about what happened to Preacher Page, as they called him. But the allies who could have done something about it, who lived in the Browns area, did not.”

This story is one of so many Americans who lived through the Jim Crow Era, into the Civil Rights Era and beyond. The pain and trauma was passed onto their kids and grandkids, and Tubbs says she hopes this book helps bring empathy out of the reader.

“I think that’s important for everyone to do: to put themselves in the broader context of what’s happening in our nation today, be they a person of color or not. I feel like we almost have an obligation to find out that broader story, because in finding out that broader story… we begin to find out more about ourselves.”

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.