Those who reads the writings of author Beth Macy quickly appreciates how the lady write.
She’s also an excellent speaker as those who have attended her appearances at the Jacksonville Center (oop, now the Floyd Art Center) recently and again on Saturday night when she presented excerpts from Truevine, which tells the frightening true story of two Albino African-American children kidnapped from Truevine, Virginia, and abused and exploited as carnival freaks before becoming acts in circuses while their mother searched for them for 28 years.
Their mother, Harriet Muse, found them when the Ringling Brothers Circus came to Roanoke in 1927. The man who lured them away from Truevine so many years ago had told them Harriet was dead.
Macy’s examines what happened in the “Jim Crow” South in 1899 but also discusses racism that remains today.
George and Willie Muse, known at Iko and Eko, the singing brothers, were presented in circus shows before royalty at Buckingham Palace and Madison Square Garden. Over the years, they were presented as cannibals, sheep-headed freaks and “Ambassadors from Mars” primarily because of their skin color.
Truevine is a dark story about abuse of children and rampant racism and, sadly, the undertones of this year’s Presidential campaign provide evidence that too many patterns of racism and bigotry still exist far to much and far too often..
Macy received ovations from the Floyd Radio Show Saturday night for her two readings from the book and a powerful ending of the show with the audience singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” after a recording of one of the brothers singing the song was played.
Truevine is a story that must be told and Macy tells it better than anyone.