A graduate of Howard University and former Executive Director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), Brenda Welburn spent thirty-five years in the field of education, specializing in governance and state education policy. Traveling throughout the nation and around the globe, she is a noted speaker on equity, access, and high standards for all students.
Welburn considers it her good fortune to be from a close-knit family where her ancestors were revered and their memories cherished. Inspired by that experience, she chose to tell her family story through a tale of three young people forced to confront the struggles of the past with the triumphs of the present through unexpected time travel. Drawing on rich family history, she writes of a compelling journey.
The Time Travels of Annie Sesstry is brimming with factual accounts of the periods of slavery and reconstruction and chronicles a family’s determination to discover their roots, celebrate their history, and unveil the mystery of traveling through time.
Virtual Book Launch
June 26, 2022
The Time Travels of Annie Sesstry
Annie Sesstry's family roots trace back to Laverne Fox MacElmurry, a man born in slavery in 1829, and freed after the Civil War. Annie, his twenty-first descendant, is a smart and sassy thirteen-year-old from an upper-middle-class family, anxious to spread her wings.
Annie's mother a writer, and her father is a history professor and curator at the Smithsonian Institution spend weekends with their children exploring historical and cultural points of interest. Though Annie hates everything about bygone times, her parents insist understanding history is essential to the children understanding who they are and from where they came. One summer day, Annie, her sister Emma, and her cousin Joshua slip through a portal and travel back in time to post-Civil War Georgia.
Landing in 1867, they meet Fox MacElmurry and discover a secret about family time travelers through the generations. Their adventures teach them that history isn't so dull after all.
I am lost forever. I shall never again see the fertile lands of home. I will not behold the sun as it rises over the huts of my village and illuminates the plains of my homeland at the start of each new day. Gone forever is the warmth of its rays on my face as I lie in the grass. The vision of the azure blue skies kissing the tops of trees and the swift flight of the gazelle and lion sprinting across the open fields, are gone from me forevermore.
I do not rest beneath the glimmering sun or starry sky of the motherland. I lay shackled in the bowels of a slave ship, immersed in my own waste and that of those around me. Decay assaults my senses. The stench is an amalgamation of vomit, rotting flesh, and human misery. If there is a hell, then this is the core of its origin.
How did I come to be in this heinous place, victimized by men who bow to a god of greed? I was stolen in the dark of night like a treasure; then tossed to the dogs in the morning like a worthless bone. Warring tribes, hostile neighbors, loathsome men - Black and white - guilty of unforgivable sins. Bought and sold with no contemplation of my true worth; for what price is there to be placed on an immortal soul.
To my captors, I was an adversary. To the slave traders, I am a commodity. Despair dwells deep, for I know when this ship arrives at its destination, I will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. I will be abused and made to face indignities no man or woman should suffer. I will be dishonored and used until I no longer serve their purposes. When they are done, I will be discarded like feckless refuse, buried in an unmarked grave.
But I won’t succumb and become the animal they perceive me to be. My spirit will rise and rebel. I will not permit them to declare me unworthy of humanity because of the color of my skin. I shall not allow them to judge me as insignificant. I am more than human substance. I have a spirit they cannot touch. I have worth. I matter to the people of my village, to my family, to the one I was to marry. I have value to the Creator even if it seems He or She has abandoned me. And I will matter to my descendants, those who will one day search for my name; and give witness to my existence.
Those around me beg to die; I beg to live. I beg to pass on my essence I plead to the Almighty power to let my spirit rise above and move through earthly dimensions to see beyond these shameful times to a better day. I will not lose myself in this nether world. I will not surrender my soul. I will endure.
"I will not permit them to declare me unworthy of humanity because of the color of my skin. I shall not allow them to judge me as insignificant."
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For information on appearances and book signings, please fill out the attached form or contact me at Brendaw@Brendawelburn.com