Title: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Author: Ernest J. Gaines
Performed by: Lynn Thigpen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in Louisiana we find 10 year old Jane living on a plantation watching as the Abolitionist soldiers stop for a drink of water on their way home. One soldier invites her to seek asylum in Ohio. That night two dozen slaves (now free) head north with Laura, a woman with two young children in tow, leading them through the brush and swamp land. They are trying to stay out of the way of the enemy yet when the slaughter is over, Jane and Ned, Laura’s six year old son are the only survivors.
By Jane’s wit and tenacity she leads them northward where they encounter all manner of set-backs. They struggle “to get out of Louisiana but what happens in the years that follow is a tale of loss and heartache and renewed hope, imprinted on its aged teller’s face like furrow in a russet field.”
Jane lives to the more than ripe age of 110 and relates her tale to an area high school teacher looking to teach his students more about plantation society in the Deep South. “Her story is not only a vivid picture of the South before the dawn of the civil rights era, but also a story of one woman’s survival against overwhelming odds – a stunning autobiography of a courageous woman who won her battles with grace and dignity.”