The Midwest Writing Center will celebrate the launch of Shellie Moore Guy’s new book, “The Family Tree,” on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Broadway, 2115 4th Ave., Rock Island.
Published by MWC Press, the book was written by Shellie Moore Guy and illustrated by Gwen Ballard Patton. It tells the real-life story of Charley Wilson and Sandy Terry, two brothers who escaped slavery to join the Union Army to fight for the freedom of their people during the Civil War.
Learn how the brothers lived during slavery, how they escaped, and what they did during their time as soldiers. Follow their families as they settle following the war and how they and their descendants become important people in their new communities, according to a Midwest Writing Center synopsis.
Guy of Rock Island wrote in an author’s note that her great-great-grandparents Charley and Eliza Wilson and their family settled in Rock Island in 1866, following the end of the Civil War. They moved to Port Byron in 1876, and in 1914 a man named John Hauberg interviewed Charley.
The result of that interview is a description of Guy’s ancestors’ lives during slavery and how they gained their freedom. This is the basis of her new book.
“Writing this story and bringing my ancestors’ experiences to life has been a source of joy and inspiration,” Guy said in her note. “After sharing this story with my family, the children seemed so interested and excited that I decided that other children may be interested and would benefit from learning about local and national history.
“Our story reflects the stories of many African-American families in the United States and it is my hope that this labor of love will provide the readers of this book a sense of history as well as a source of personal inspiration, encouragement, and pride,” Guy said.
It is her second MWC Press book, following her children’s book “How Little Billy Learned To Play” (released in January 2020), a tribute to the East Moline native and jazz pianist Bill Bell (1936-2017).
“The Family Tree” sells for $15 and can be ordered HERE.