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Advice from IR Approved Author Eugene DeFriest Bétit: “To thine own self be true.”

Collective Amnesia received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Eugene DeFriest Bétit.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Collective Amnesia: American Apartheid, African Americans’ 400 Years in North America, 1619-2019

What’s the book’s first line?

“Enslavement of blacks, one of America’s “original sins,” fatefully sowed the seeds of a great national dilemma, a problem entirely of America’s making.”

I rather fancy the dedication:

Dedicated to African Americans,

freedmen and slave,

Who stood by the Union in her time of trial,

and to their descendants

Who kept the faith despite persecution and hate

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The books examines in detail the entire 400 years of African Americans’ presence in North America, from the brutality of slavery to the role US Colored Troops played in self-liberation, post-Civil War struggles for civil justice, brutally resisted by the South in a murderous series of KKK and individual Southern whites’ violence against white Unionists (“Scalawags”), the Jim Crow doctrine of separate but decidedly not equal, black heroism in both world wars, the Great Migration, the struggle for Civil Rights and the multi-faced backlash that continues to this day.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I audited a course at Shenandoah University on Virginia history in which the prof stressed racism as a recurring theme. I served a parish in Arlington founded by black Catholics as a deacon for 21 years and have many black friends. Further, as a Civil War buff, I understood the 14th and 15th Amendments and wondered how they could have been so totally ignored. My research surprised the heck out of me!

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Americans are willfully ignorant of a past that MUST change if we are to attain our Founders’ ideals (and those enshrined in our Constitution). This book is as real as it gets!

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy for starters. Morgan would be a fabulous Frederick Douglass.

When did you first decide to become an author?

My junior English teacher put a burr under my saddle.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No, this is the third. See Amazon.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I was an intelligence analyst in the Army for 20 years and I’ve been retired for 33 years. I’m working hard on a second edition because I consider this an extremely important topic.

How much time do you spend on your writing?

Five-six hours a day.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

Control of the quality of the book (Two “conventional” publishers wanted to publish Collective Amnesia, but  I was dissatisfied with their conditions.) On the other hand, The New York Times and Washington Post won’t review my book because it is self-published.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

To thine own self be true.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why? 

Yes, I have rewritten the book and am searching for a traditional publisher. I am certain this book has the potential of being a best-seller.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I believe that all Americans need to understand what our treatment of African Americans has cost us. This has corroded our national soul and curtailed a significant part of our national potential.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Jon Meacham, Ron Chernow, James McPherson.