“Cassandra Lane, a former member of Nommo Literary Society, who now lives and works in Los Angeles, has written an important memoir that focuses on how past generations can affect contemporary lives. Her grandfather was lynched. She researched and talked to family members, and also used her imagination to tell all of us how important our past is. Her book, We Are Bridges, is a winner of the Louise Meriweather First Book Prize.”—Kalamu ya Salaam
When Cassandra Lane finds herself pregnant at thirty-five, the knowledge sends her on a poignant exploration of memory to prepare for her entry into motherhood. She moves between the twentieth-century rural South and present-day Los Angeles, reimagining the intimate life of her great-grandparents Mary Magdalene Magee and Burt Bridges, and Burt’s lynching at the hands of vengeful white men in his southern town.
We Are Bridges turns to creative nonfiction to reclaim a family history from violent erasure so that a mother can gift her child with an ancestral blueprint for their future. Haunting and poetic, this debut traces the strange fruit borne from the roots of personal loss in one Black family—and considers how to take back one’s American story.
“In this evocative memoir, Cassandra Lane deftly uses the act of imagination to reclaim her ancestors’ story as a backdrop for telling her own. She renders each interior life with such tenderness and toughness that the tradition of black women’s storytelling leaps forward within these pages—into fresh, daring, and excitingly new territory. Lane’s compelling voice couldn’t be more timely.” —Bridgett M. Davis, author of The World according to Fannie Davis
“Cassandra Lane writes with the urgency driven to the page by the necessities of that first great art: motherhood. We Are Bridges is a book of history, and as such, it uncovers and recovers the truths no classroom teacher will ever reveal to the children who need to know them most: ‘Let the dead bury the dead, Jesus said, but here I am: guilty of pining after my dead. Not knowing one’s story is like being buried alive.’ More than that, it is a love story, a book of how—in spite of every obstacle—black people still make themselves vulnerable enough to take the leap and fall in (and survive!) love.” —Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition
- Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black
- Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
- Social Science / Black Studies (Global)
- Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies