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Living in perpetual regret for her past mistakes, ex-slave Violette McMillan has one goal: keeping herself and her daughter Emerald safe from masculine wiles.
But when Violette’s washerwoman job expires and she is hired by Black businessman Benjamin Catlett, she finds herself lured by his charms. Will she be able to resist? Or will she succumb to her new handsome boss whose dark secret consists of his own past as the son of a black slaveholder—a past causing Benjamin to sometimes unwittingly behave like an antebellum master?
Excerpted from a longer work by Wheelock, “The Chifforobe” in From the Sleeping Porch confronts the hard issue of a female black preacher in 1957 and how the protagonist, Caroline Crimson, fuses her blackness and her call into the energy she needs to mount the pulpit.
“Two girls forge a deep bond of friendship that defies the bounds of race and dangers of polio in 1950s Mississippi.”—A description of Wheelock’s story as excerpted from the back cover statement of Guideposts’ “A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 3: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past”
Dinah Devereaux, New Orleans-born slave and seamstress, suddenly finds herself relegated to a sweltering kitchen on the Natchez, Mississippi town estate of Riverwood. Having never cooked a day in her life, she is terrified of being found out and banished to the cotton fields. But when she accidentally burns the freedom papers of Jonathan Mayfield, a handsome free man of color to whom she's attracted, her fear of the fields becomes secondary.
A gifted cabinetmaker, Jonathan Mayfield’s heart is set on finally becoming a respected businessman by outfitting a bedroom at the palatial Riverwood—until a beautiful new slave girl destroys his proof of freedom and his fragile confidence along with it.
When the mistress of Riverwood orders Dinah to work alongside the sullen Mr. Mayfield, sparks fly, setting the two on a collision course. Is their mutual love for God strong enough to overcome deep-seated insecurities and set the couple on a path toward self-acceptance and love for each other?
Set a few miles inland from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Jacqueline Wheelock’s short fiction, “Christmas Lights” in Christmas Stories from Mississippi celebrates the indomitable spirit of a young African American preadolescent whose dream is to have electricity brought to her home by Christmas. The threat to that dream unearths the human potential between races that shines past the faint glow of electric lights and manmade light in general to the eternity of the Star of Bethlehem.
A Year in Mississippi is another notable contribution among many offered by University Press of Mississippi. Jacqueline Wheelock’s contribution to this riveting collection centers on the triennial celebration of the former African American secondary school, Magnolia High School, whose doors closed as a result of Integration. While few would argue against the merits of Integration, amidst parades and celebrations of the Great Magnolia Homecoming every third year lies an unspoken ironic longing for the nurturing and self-esteem which was not an immediate carryover for students entering white schools.
In Children of the Changing South: Accounts of Growing up During and After Integration, Jacqueline Wheelock offers three memoirs called “Power, Love, and a Sound Mind,” in which she uses the Pauline quote from the Bible to describe how she copes with and overcomes the psychological scars and battles incurred as a young African American making the transition between Jim Crow and Integration.
Jacqueline Wheelock’s short story in Christmas Stories from the South’s Best Writers is called “Blue’s Holiday.” Clinging to a misty memory of the black Santa Claus of her orphaned childhood, Lavender Blue—who spends her evenings in her tenement room dressed in a Santa suit retrieved from a garbage can in order to fend off despair—trudges hopelessly through her days as a maid in an upscale Biloxi, Mississippi hotel in 1966—until she is brought face to face with a unlikely tenant: her absentee father who not only is a prominent Civil Rights figure but has played into her life—all her life—in a sweet and poignant fashion.