Today–Saturday, June 6, 2020–marks the 122 anniversary of the Tampa area race riots that happened during the mobilization of the troops to Cuba for the Spanish-American War. For my novel, Fortitude, I researched the event from multiple sources and did my best to portray the situation accurately, though it was heartbreaking to dive into such vileness as the triggering event. More lives were lost in Florida (due to disease and bigotry) than in the Cuba campaign of the Spanish-American War.
If you’re not familiar with Fortitude, it’s a coming-of-age Southern Gothic listed with Grateful American Foundation as a “Best History Book” for kids (targeted for 5-10th grades), one of only three dozen books currently on the list. It’s about standing up when you see injustices and helping your fellow man, no matter the cost. The settings are mostly familiar ones to my readers: Mobile, Dauphin Island, Mon Louis Island, and Tampa in 1898. It was my first published novel in 2015 and is now in its second edition with Bienvenue Press, home of The Possession Chronicles–and several of the characters if Fortitude make an appearance in the series.
We must learn from the past and move forward with compassion–and fortitude.