*Save the date Thursday, April 26, 2018 because higher education specialist Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs’ “More Than a Fraction” Book Tour continues in 2018 with a stop at the Enoch Pratt Library (400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201).
The book presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the African American Department of the free library located in downtown Baltimore. Dr. Hobbs’ book presentation/signing was recently held at a standing room only crowd at Virginia Tech as a lecture entitled “Discovering My Enslaved Ancestors at Smithfield Plantation.”
“More Than a Fraction” is a creative non-fiction account of her enslaved ancestors, the Fractions, at the Smithfield plantation in Virginia.
In her presentation Dr. Moseley-Hobbs tells the audience about how her ancestry search began, which led her to the Smithfield plantation in Virginia where the Fractions were enslaved, as well as the story of how her ancestors rejected slavery and narrates their journey to both physical and economical freedom. She discovered that the foundation that oversees the plantation was looking for relatives of the Fractions and that meeting of the two led to Dr. Moseley-Hobbs being appointed to serve on the Smithfield Foundation’s Board of Trustees. This experience inspired her to publish “More Than a Fraction: Based on a true story.” In the “More Than a Fraction” presentation she ends it with a powerful visual – a Power-Point presentation connecting the culture of her ancestors’ African origins with today’s African American culture.
One faculty member at the Virginia Tech presentation was heard saying, “I have attended many lectures and this has been the best so far.”
Her ancestors, it was discovered, were fairly well documented and noted in records of the time (something not common for enslaved individuals). This was the reason why the foundation was looking for ancestors of the Fractions. What is thought to have been the Fractions’ home is still on the grounds located next to the “main” house of Robert Preston, former owner of the Fractions. Robert was the younger brother of the last owner of the Smithfield plantation William Ballard Preston, a Virginia lawyer who was a former Senator and Secretary of the Navy. It was also discovered that one of the Fractions named Virginia was called Aunt Ginny by the Preston family and she remains buried in the Smithfield cemetery along with the rest of the Preston family (another rare occurrence). Ginny’s brother Thomas Fraction was so respected as a freedman that he was noted by a local newspaper in Salem, Virginia as being a “well known colored man” when he passed away.
Thomas Fraction was Dr. Moseley-Hobbs’ 3x great grandfather. He served in the Civil War, along with his younger brother Othello Fraction. “More Than a Fraction” creatively tells the story of the enslaved Fraction family before, during and after the Civil War.
The “More Than a Fraction” Book Tour at Enoch Pratt Library is sponsored in part by Times Community Services, the foundation of The Baltimore Times that seek to education young underprivileged minds via digital technology. For more information about the Baltimore Enoch Pratt Library’s Thursday, April 26, 2018 “More Than a Fraction” book signing at 6:30 p.m. in the African-American Department visit www.ImaginationLunchbox.com or www.prattlibrary.org/locations/central/. You can also reach out to Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs at [email protected] or [email protected],
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