Forbidden Fruit is a collection of fascinating, largely untold stories of ordinary men and women who took extraor dinary measures, risking life and limb to be together. It¹s the story of couples who faced mobs, bloodhounds, bounty hunters, and bullets to defy the system that allowed slave masters to breed and sell people like cattle. Some broke the taboo against interracial marriage, putting their lives in the most severe peril. In one remarkable story, a Georgia couple who fled slavery wearing multiple disguises sailed for England with bounty hunters and federal troops on their trail. A fugitive slave from Virginia spent seventeen arduous years searching for his wife. A Missouri slave fell in love with his white Mormon neighbor and escaped to Canada to be with her, putting pepper in his shoes to throw dogs off the scent at night and hiding in trees by day. Betty DeRamus gleaned these amazing stories from descendants of runaway slave couples, unpublished memoirs, Civil War records, books, magazines, and dozens of previously untapped sources. Beautifully and compassionately written, this important book reveals a chapter of American history that is shameful but is about triumph as well as torture, achievement as well as degradation, and indomitable love as well as hate.
A veteran and award winning journalist, DeRamus was the jury's pick and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. She has been awarded a Michigan Press Association Award, as well as a Deems Taylor award for a profile of Roberta Flack published in Essence.
DeRamus was one of an international group of select journalists who toured Central African refugee camps under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and one of a small group of journalists outside Voerster prison in 1990 when Nelson Mandela finally left his cell.
She has wriiten about African-American history for Essence, Time-Life, North Star Journal, and Black World. She is a former commentator for The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The Michigan Chronicle, and the British Broadcasting Company.
"With lucid and poignant prose, Betty DeRamus has tapped a heretofore unknown vein of Black culture: love stories from the Underground Railroad." -- Herb Boyd, author of We Shall Overcome and Pound for Pound
"Haunting, often riveting...always triumphant." -- Essence
"This impressive debut collection awes us with its stories of slave-era couples." -- Kirkus Reviews
"The love stories recounted in Forbidden Fruit are more than a century old. But they still have the power to make listeners' hearts race, break -- or sing." -- The Washington Post