The Water Cries represents an ambitious search for the location of the slave auction houses in one of America’s most storied cities. The author plumbs historical documentation, sifting historical advertisements and archiving familial connections.
The book is a history told by grandmothers and grandfathers. It addresses a history previously told under a different light or never told at all. These are the tales of an heir of the previously enslaved, tales of images seen and unseen, the voices of the mystical. The Water Cries represents a contribution to the telling the long-ignored truths of Galveston’s central role in the untenable trade of human souls, slavery.
The book is divided into three sections: before Emancipation (1840-1865); after Emancipation (1865-1940), with the third section providing concrete suggestions for Galveston moving forward. This latter section involves giving faces and names to the voices we hear, the creation of a historical district, and the borrowing of other communities’ progress.
The Water Cries is a contribution to the rest of us also, particularly as we continue to grapple with what W. E. B. Du Bois described as America’s unique problem, the color line.