BATAVIA — At a time when hardly any women own and publish newspapers, Pearl Goodbar is risking her family’s financial future to buy a defunct weekly.
Before she can start the newspaper, her husband loses his job, Governor Orval Faubus triggers a new crisis in the state capitol, and the adult son of black businesswoman Sadie Rose Washington disappears. The mystery of her whereabouts brings the two women – one white and one black, but both mothers – closer together and leaves Pearl facing business decisions that could lead to more money troubles and even physical injury for herself and those close to her. . Meanwhile, a prominent white man is hiding a dark secret that Sadie Rose knows but won’t tell.
Set in the fictional town of Unionville, Arkansas, George Rollie Adams’ new book ‘Found in Pieces’ is set during the second year of unrest over Governor Orval Faubus’ determination to stop the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. .
Adams, retired president and CEO of the Strong National Museum of Play, will be at the Richmond Memorial Library for a talk and signing Wednesday at 7 p.m. This is the second time he has come to Batavia; Adams came two years ago to discuss his book “South of Little Rock” which examines race, family and small town life in the context of Little Rock’s desegregation crisis.
“Found in Pieces,” winner of five national and international awards for historical and social fiction, explores the tension between commercial considerations and editorial politics in journalism in the era of civil rights in the South.
“It’s a hot topic,” Adams said. “I didn’t want to op-ed about the current state of the media, but I wanted to present the kinds of pressures and struggles editors faced in the 1950s and 1960s to cover civil rights. Where they might do something or say something that is contrary to popular community beliefs, thus losing advertisers or followers.
In his talk, Adams will detail how newspapers changed between World War II and the Civil Rights era.
“Found in Pieces” has some of the same supporting characters as “South of Little Rock”, but has different main characters. Readers do not need to read “South of Little Rock” to follow the story in “Found in Pieces” as both are stand-alone stories.
Adams said he spoke with people who lived during the civil rights era, especially in the north, who said that while they knew about civil rights, they didn’t know what it was like. There were things that happened to people that they knew nothing about.
“I wanted to write about how people from different points of view reacted to what was happening. I wanted to tell an interesting and engaging story. I wanted to tell something about the story. I wanted to stand up for civil rights,” Adams said. “I also wanted to show that not everyone living in the South in the civil rights era was wearing a white dress or walking somewhere with a desegregation sign – most (white) people were somewhere between.”
Copies of the book are available at the library prior to the program and will be available for sale by the author at the event for $15 (paperback) or $20 (hardcover), cash or check.
This event is free and everyone is welcome. It is best suited for older teenagers and adults.
Adams is from southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education. Her previous novel, “South of Little Rock,” received four independent publishers’ awards for regional and social issues.
Adams was a writer, editor, and program director for the American Association for State and Local History and director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. He is President and CEO Emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play.