150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended by Melvin J. Collier takes readers on an incredible journey to unravel a complicated historical mystery. A genealogical story of discovery and triumph like no other, this fascinating book is uniquely captivating because the nearly impossible was accomplished – an unprecedented, emotional reunion of a family after 150 years of separation.
During slavery, most African Americans endured the pain of forcible and permanent division from their kin. Consequently, many familial connections are essentially impossible to uncover and are lost forever. 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended is a triumphant story of a family mending ties that were broken generations ago.
In 1859 in South Carolina, Collier’s great-grandfather, Bill Reed, watched his father being sold away when he was just 12 years old. Bill relayed how he also waved goodbye to other displaced family members, never to see them again. 19-year-old Bill migrated to northern Mississippi for a better life in 1866, shortly after he was emancipated, oblivious that his family was also in northern Mississippi. 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended answers a difficult question that he, as well as many other former slaves, often asked – what happened to my family?
Collier, an Atlanta-based archivist and former civil engineer, explains, “I wrote this book because it was a story that needed to be told. We’ve heard about how often slaves were forever separated from their family. However, this is a riveting story with a joyful outcome, out of the many disheartening stories of involuntary family separations.”
Journalist and historian Robin Foster describes 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended as “a masterpiece, a miraculous story full of mini miracles.” Another reader notes, “This book caused me to experience different levels of emotions: sadness, weeping, laughter, cheering, and curiosity.”