Category Archives: Announcements

Read and Share the story of “The Promise” this Black History Month

Promise cover final

If you’re looking for a new way and a new story to celebrate Black History Month with your family, read The Promise with your children this month. 

The Promise is based on the true story of an enslaved family that traveled the Oregon Trail in search of freedom.

Their owner promised them freedom if they helped his family make the move – but then went back on his promise when his financial fortunes sank during the trip.

It took a nice Quaker family and an abolitionist-leaning judge to make that “promise” a reality.

It’s time for a new story.  It’s time to share The Promise with your young family.

Share this amazing story with your friends and family today!

Order your copy of The Promise today

Print Edition | Kindle Edition

Authors of “The Promise” to present workshop as part of “Heads Are Turning, Children Are Learning” Event – May 23, 2015

Please join Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dawn Comer Jefferson for Literacy Day at the California African American Museum. We will be doing a workshop for kids as well as readings from our book, The Promise. Signed copies of The Promise will also be available for purchase.

Promise cover 150

The day includes several local authors offering writing workshops and book signings, celebrities reading books, art and crafts, book giveaways and music. And there will be a lunch truck on the premises.

We hope to see you there!

Caam logo

Heads Are Turning, Children Are Learning – California African-American Museum Celebrates Children’s Literacy

Since 2004, in celebration of National Children’s Book Week, we present local Los Angelels authors and celebrity readeres in CAAM’s galleries. The activities of the day also include an arts and crafts workshop, literacy workshops, face-painting, and book giveaways for families in attendance.

Caam literacy 2014

The Promise Co-Author, Dawn Comer Jefferson, presents at 2014 CAAM Literacy Day Event

Saturday, May 23, 2015
11am – 4 pm

Free and open to the public. Parking: $10.

The California African American Museum is easily accessible from the Metro Expo line using the Exposition Park/USC Station. (See map below)

RSVP preferred: 213.744.2024

California African American Museum
600 State Drive Exposition Park
Los Angeles, CA 90037


Scenes from 2014 CAAM Literacy Day Event


African-American History Month #3: Hiram Young (1812-1882): Wagon maker for the Oregon Trail from BlackPast

African american history month 1

Hiram Young (1812-1882)


Taking advantage of his location near the beginning of  the Oregon, Santa Fe, and other major overland  trails in the 1850s, Young built wagons for western emigrants and for farmers in the area.  He also made freighters for the U.S. government.   Independence’s first mayor and Santa Fe merchant, William McCoy, served as his business manager.  Until 1855, Young had a free black man as a business partner, Dan Smith.   Smith left Independence due to increasing anti-free black sentiment in the area.  The Young family, however, remained.

By 1860, Young was turning out thousands of yokes and between eight and nine hundred wagons a year.  He employed about 20 men in his workshops, which included seven forges.  Census officials noted 300 completed wagons and 6,000 yokes in 1860 when they tallied Young’s property.  Young branded his work “Hiram Young and Company” along with the purchaser’s initials.  The wagons Young and his men built could haul nearly 6,000 pounds and were pulled by up to 12 oxen and his factory was one of the largest businesses in Independence and Jackson County, Missouri.  He described himself at the time as “a colored man of means.”


Read more about Hiram Young on

Western Freight Wagon

Wagon similar to those made by Hiram Young

Hiram Young – Black Entrepreneur and U.S. western expansion from Jackson County Historical Societ on Vimeo.

Previously on Africa-American History Month:

African-American History Month #2: African American Military Portraits From the American Civil War Exhibit at LA Public Library

African american history month 1

We came across this flyer on one of our regular visits to the local library. Quite a few of the images are available online.

African-American History Month #2: African American Military Portraits From the American Civil War Exhibit at LA Public Library

The mostly forgotten role of African-American soldiers and sailors in the American Civil War is revealed and celebrated in the exhibition “African American Military Portraits from The American Civil War: Selected Images from The Library of Congress Collections.”

The exhibit, which is from the California African American Museum (CAAM), provides a compelling portrait of the 180,000 African American soldiers and commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.

“When most people think of the Civil War they just think of slaves and they don’t realize a lot of the black soldiers were volunteers from the north and were free,” said Ed Garcia, CAAM exhibition curator. “I wanted to show the pictures and tell the stories of the black soldiers who have been completely forgotten.”

Exhibit runs until April 4, 2015

Previously on Africa-American History Month:

Download and Read the Chapter 1 of “The Promise”

Download and Read the Chapter 1 of The Promise

** You don’t need a Kindle device to read, though. You can use your computer, your smartphone, your tablet or even just your web browser.

The Promse Cover

You can download and read free sampler from The Promise via Click to visit The Promise on Amazon and look for this in the sidebar.

Download and Read the first chapter of The Promise

More info on Kindle samples

Kindle sample how to

Visit The Promise on to download your free chapter today!

Announcement: The Promise Book 2: New Beginnings is coming soon!

Announcement: The Promise Book 2: New Beginnings is coming soon!

The Promise: New Beginnings

Book Two in The Promise series finds 10 year old Mary and the rest of the Holmes family — former slaves who earned their freedom traversing the treacherous Oregon Trail — adapting to life as settlers in the wilds of the Oregon Territory in 1855.

Tending farm alongside the McPhedren’s, a Quaker couple they befriended on their journey to the Pacific Northwest, and joined by her best friend, 15 year old runaway slave, Buddy, Mary and her family find themselves caught up in the growing tensions between the Native Americans and the newly arrived settlers. With the help of the army, the other settlers fight to force the tribes who have lived and farmed the land for centuries onto reservations, which painfully reminds Mary of her former life as a slave.

Their promising new beginning as free blacks in the Pacific Northwest is threatened as Mary and her family must survive crop failure, smallpox, and the possibility of war with the Native Americans, all of which tests friendships old and new.

Receive notification on the release of The Promise: New Beginnings: