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The Bootlegger’s Mistress
Carrie Lacey’s happy upbringing is seemingly immune from the pressures of growing up Black in rural South Carolina during the Great Depression. But life changes when her mother and six siblings are forced from their Anderson home, leaving Carrie and her father, Hallie.
While working for White businessman Tommy Joe Butler—a bootleg liquor dealer—Carrie becomes aware of the depth of her father’s campaign to change the lives of African Americans. He is using some of the strategies of the Underground Railroad, the nonviolent system of freeing slaves in pre-Civil War America to achieve his mission. When Butler and Hallie continue to vehemently disagree over property ownership, she departs Anderson in frustration. During her travels, Carrie encounters her alter ego, Dicie Caughman, commencing an odyssey that spans nearly eighty years and numerous locales, including life-enriching stops in Jacksonville, Florida and Newark, New Jersey. Carrie, in the form of Dicie, lives a good life as a nationally respected media mogul, though it is marked with deep-rooted secrets from her past life in South Carolina.
The Bootlegger’s Mistress embodies the essence of The Great Migration—the decades-long movement of six million African Americans from the racially oppressive South to the purportedly economic opportunity-laden North during much of the twentieth century.