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Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit

Love Stories from the Underground Railroad

Forbidden Fruit is a collection of fascinating, largely untold tales of ordinary men and women who faced mobs, bloodhounds, bounty hunters, and bullets to be together -- and defy a system that categorized blacks not only as servants, but as property.

Here you'll meet, among other extraordinary characters, a fugitive slave from Virginia who spends seventeen years searching for his wife. A Georgia slave couple that sails for England with federal troops trailing behind. A white woman who falls in love with her deceased husband's slave. A young slave girl who is delivered to her fiancé inside a wooden chest.

Acclaimed journalist Betty DeRamus gleaned these anecdotes from descendants of runaway slave couples, unpublished memoirs, Civil War records, census data, magazines, and dozens of previously untapped sources. This is a book about people pursuing love and achievement in a time of hate and severely limited opportunities. Though not all of the stories in Forbidden Fruit end in triumph, they all celebrate hope, passion, courage, and triumph of the human spirit.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743482646 | 
  • December 2005
List Price $18.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Love in a Time of Hate

Joseph Antoine would have found the twenty-first century as baffling as ballet is to a bulldog. He wouldn't have understood married couples who split up before their wedding flowers wilt or their new woks and washing machines lose their showroom shine. He wouldn't have understood why black marriage, as an institution, began dwindling so drastically after 1940. He wouldn't have understood why black children, who once could count on honorary "aunts" and "uncles" on every plantation, now, in some cases, boil their own oatmeal and tuck themselves into bed. Most of all he wouldn't have understood why, for... see more

More Books from this Author

Essence best-seller Betty DeRamus continues the history of blacks who used the legal system and cunning to break free from slavery.
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About the Author

Betty DeRamus
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Betty DeRamus

A veteran and award winning journalist, DeRamus was the jury's pick and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. She has been awarded a Michigan Press Association Award, as well as a Deems Taylor award for a profile of Roberta Flack published in Essence.

 

DeRamus was one of an international group of select journalists who toured Central African refugee camps under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and one of a small group of journalists outside Voerster prison in 1990 when Nelson Mandela finally left his cell. 

She has wriiten about African-American history for Essence, Time-Life, North Star Journal, and Black World. She is a former commentator for The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The Michigan Chronicle, and the British Broadcasting Company.

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