The evolution of a remarkable African American family—the Caytons—is a brilliantly told tale set primarily in Seattle and Chicago. The Caytons lived a true American saga, illuminating the black and white experience in the United States and the troubled, tortuous course of race relations.
Several generations of the Horace and Susie Cayton family spanned the period from the Civil War to the present. They were a distinguished family, conscious of their historical heritage and distinct identity. The Caytons sought to define themselves in relation to their family traditions and to society as a whole. In the process, they attained financial success and influence both nationally and regionally. They published newspapers, authored books and articles, held public office, worked for civil and human rights, and established relationships with major black and white community and cultural leaders in America and France.
They also faced racial discrimination and duress, business and professional failures, and even poverty. And, some struggled against the personal challenges of alcoholism, depression, and drug addiction. Yet, the force of the family legacy—of being “a Cayton”—impelled most of them to make significant contributions and accomplish high achievments.
They speak to us with deep insight about our society—sharpening our understanding of the past, and enhancing our sense of individual and collective identity in the modern age.
Photographs / notes / bibliography / index / 272 pages (2002)