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January 20 , 2009

The Seeking


Novelist Will Thomas had been a logger in Maine, a crew member on a fishing boat in Alaska, a prizefighter on the West Coast, a scriptwriter in Los Angeles, and a journalist in Kansas City, Chicago, and New York. In 1946 he, his wife, and three children abandoned a plan to move to Haiti to escape racial prejudice in the United States. Instead, they made the improbable decision to purchase a home in tiny Westford, Vermont, twenty miles northeast of Burlington. At the time, the Thomases were the only non-white members of the community. The Seeking is the grim account of the Thomases’ lives before Vermont, their decision to give living in America one last chance, and the moving, heartfelt, uplifting story of their time among the people of Westford—a life, writes Thomas, “not based on race, but on what we and they [were] like as human beings.”
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Back in print for the first time in fifty years, this edition includes a new introduction that situates The Seeking in the canon of twentieth-century black literature, and a new afterword that follows the fortunes of Thomas and his family in the years after its initial publication. With appearances by the author’s notable friends, including the novelist Chester Himes and sociologist Horace Cayton, Jr., The Seeking is both a story of one remarkable African-American family and a story of New England race relations in the first half of the twentieth century.
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