"My dear child, I have not learned my Christianity from them [slave owners]. I have learned it at the foot of the cross, and from this book," she said, placing a New Testament in Iola's hands. "Some of the most beautiful lessons of faith and trust I have ever learned were from among our lowly people in their humble cabins."
IOLA LEROY was originally published in 1892, during a time of black disenfranchisement, lynching, and Jim Crow laws. It is the story of a an American woman of mixed heritage raised to believe she's white until she and her mother are sold into slavery. Iola becomes an outspoken advocate for her people and a critic of race-mixing. Her story offers an important portrait of black life during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
It is the first published Christian novel written by an African American Woman. It does what few Christian novels do now. IOLA LEROY express in both theme and tone the issues that affected early 19th Century American life: Jim Crowism, slavery, women's suffrage, family responsibility, Reconstruction, and faith. Moreover the characters in this story are heavy and weighted in realism. Oftentimes I read newer faith based novels whereby the writer has watered down human reaction to a scene or a natural human response to a dilemma, in order to placate a general Christian audience. Other times, authors change historical elements (revisionist history) to make the story easy to take in .What Harper does is tell the world what she sees and feels and leaves the burden of how she will be perceived on the cross that Christ carried for us.
Dee Stewart is a Christian magazine editor, journalist, publisher or Christian Fiction Blog and owner DeeGospel PR. She is also Miranda Parker, novelist for Kensington Books. Her debut novel A GOOD EXCUSE TO BE BAD released July 2011. The sequel SOMEONE BAD AND SOMETHING BLUE releases July 2012.