The Lane Memorial Library and Friends of the Lane Memorial Library will present an online event, The Sketches of Lee Collection by local author Michael Ward on Thursday, November 19, at 7 p.m. This is a virtual program and will be presented via the Zoom app available on most PC and handheld devices. Ward who was recently featured on WMUR’s New Hampshire Chronicle will present his family's story with a Q&A session at the end.
Registration is required, after which a confirmation email will be sent containing information about joining the meeting. Follow this link to register in advance.
From the author’s website
“In the summer of 1957, the Ward family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Lee, New Hampshire to escape gang violence. It was an era when racial tensions were high, and they were the first “colored family” in the area. Needless to say, over the years they encountered many interesting experiences. They also became respected members of the community, led by parents, Harold and Virginia Ward, a couple with strong character, conviction and compassion.
Harold, Michael Cameron Ward’s 94-year-old father, was hospitalized in the beginning of May 2015 with only weeks to live. On May 20th, he made a request of his son: “Michael, I want you to write the stories of our existence. I want my great grandchildren to know where they came from.” As Michael sat at his father’s bedside on the 4th floor at Exeter Hospital, his father recounted stories of his life that had never been told before. If not captured, they would be lost forever. On June 9th, 2015 Harold died, and Michael has been fulfilling his father’s request ever since.
The Sketches of Lee collection is not just the tale of a family’s relocation in the summer of 1957 from Brooklyn, NY to Lee, NH. It is also a chronicle of family life as the “Index of Integration” for Lee and other New Hampshire towns.The first book in the collection, “A Colored Man in Exeter,” is a biographical account of Harold E. Ward’s, life and times. It begins with his maternal family’s slave origins on Zachary Taylor’s plantation in 1852-54. It proceeds through his childhood, his WWII US Navy career, and his post retirement in the Exeter, NH hospitality trade. The second book, “The Colored Folks Ain’t Gonna Make It,” is stories of the Ward’s “normal family life” as the “Index of Integration” in Lee, NH and the local area. It encapsulates the year from 1957 until 2017, with their home “Solar Vista” as the nexus. "The early years were tough. We made it, but it wasn’t easy."
The library will have a limited number of autographed copies of both books available for in-person purchase and pick-up during browsing library hours M,W,F 10am-2pm & T,TH 2-6pm. Payment will be via debit or credit card only with guided assistance at one of our computer workstations. Unautographed copies may be purchased via Amazon.