66 pages 2 hours read

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Song 1 and Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Song 1 Summary

The novel opens with a section called “Song” (a section with this title appears in all except three of the novel’s 11 parts, signaling that the section will focus on Ailey Garfield’s ancestors). The narrator(s) of the “Song” sections identify themselves in the novel’s opening lines: “We are the earth, the land. The tongue that speaks and trips on the names of the dead as it dares to tell these stories of a woman’s line” (1). Although the reader eventually learns that the land on which the “Song” sections take place is home to a rural town in present-day Georgia, the Creek people who live there in the early 18th century call it The-Place-in-the-Middle-of-the-Tall-Trees.

One day, a young, formerly enslaved man named Coromantee arrives at the Creek village. (Slavery is not yet legal in this area, but many people illegally own slaves anyway.) He says that a very small man led him by the hand to this location. Since the Creek tribe believes in supernatural beings that appear as small people, they decide they ought to welcome Coromantee. He stays with them for several years and eventually marries a young Creek woman, Woman-of-the-Wind. They have children together, but after several years Coromantee leaves to seek a more secure freedom with the Seminoles in Florida.

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