The Sweet Hell Inside: The Rise of an Elite Black Family in the Segregated South

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Harper Collins, Nov 5, 2002 - History - 432 pages
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From National Book Award winner Edward Ball comes The Sweet Hell Inside, the story of the fascinating Harleston family of South Carolina, the progeny of a Southern gentleman and his slave, who cast off their blemished roots and prospered despite racial barriers. Enhanced by recollections from the family's archivist, eighty-four-year-old Edwina Harleston Whitlock -- whose bloodline the author shares. The Sweet Hell Inside features a celebrated portrait artist whose subjects included industrialist Pierre du Pont; a black classical composer in the Lost Generation of 1920s Paris; and an orphanage founder who created the famous Jenkins Orphanage Band, a definitive force in the development of ragtime and jazz.

With evocative and engrossing storytelling, Edward Ball introduces a cast of historical characters rarely seen before: cultured, vain, imperfect, rich, and black -- a family of eccentrics who defied social convention and flourished.


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User Review  - nluvwithx - LibraryThing

This book gives a remarkable account of the first African American Mortuary industry as we know it today. Edward ball along with Edwina Harleston Whitlock, introduces her family's life and a history ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - allison.sivak - LibraryThing

Very well written. I was immediately engrossed in this story of a rich and relatively privileged black family in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Each family member on whom Ball focuses is brought ... Read full review


The Master and His Orphans Part II High Yellow 2o Part III Eyes Sadder Than the Grave 73
Nigger Rich 135
The Orphan Dancers 227
A Trunk in the Grass 325
Notes 353
Permissions and Photography Credits 372
Acknowledgments 374
Index 375

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About the author (2002)

Edward Ball was born in Georgia, raised in the South, and worked in New York as an art critic. His first book, Slaves in the Family, told the story of his search for the descendants of his ancestors' slaves. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife, Elizabeth.

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