A NovelBook - 1994
Autobiographical, The Homesteader expands on and continues the life of a black pioneer first described in The Conquest (also a Bison Book). In this incarnation, Jean Baptiste is his name. He has just purchased land in South Dakota when he meets his "dream girl," but to his mind marriage is impossible because she is white. Willful but warm-hearted, refusing to act as if he has no power to shape events, Baptiste cultivates his land and plans his future. In the face of drought, pestilence, and foreclosure, he turns to writing. His first marriage to the daughter of a Chicago minister collapses in acrimony and high drama. The circumstances that lead to its failure are a telling social commentary. Always learning, Baptiste demands respect and embodies the strengths of the pioneer, the vision of the empire builder. His story will impress and inspire in this cynical age without heroic models.
The Homesteader appears for the first time in paperback with an introduction by Learthen Dorsey, a professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.