DIRECT BOOK REVIEWS
OF PROVIDENCE: A Lifetime Chasing Hope
Author: Kay Carroll
Reviewer: Florence Osmund
Against all odds, Alex P. Powell, a mixed-race Choctaw Indian, perseveres in his quest for justice from the federal government in his ancestral claim to land ownership rights. The manner in which Carroll weaves in her great-grandfather’s story, complete with actual government transcripts, results in a beautiful combination of facts and emotional truths that make this book eye-opening and engaging.
The year is 1910 when Alex P. Powell—a man with ancestral roots in the Choctaw Indian tribe, Africa, Portugal, and Spain—leaves his wife and children in Oklahoma for Washington, D.C. in an effort to claim his land ownership rights under the terms of the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Once in D.C., he expands the scope of his endeavor to include all people of mixed-race Native and African Americans during which time he testifies in Washington, survives an investigation of his character by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and faces false claims related to his data-collection tactics. He runs up against new opposition from every angle, including collaborating with those who show an interest in his mission but who later turn on him in order to make money from the cause.
OF PROVIDENCE: A Lifetime Chasing Hope is a fact-based account about government-driven separation of Native and African Americans from the rest of society and one man’s courage and perseverance to make things right.
This book is a combination history lesson and heartfelt story about Alex P. Powell’s tireless fight for his legal rights as a mixed-race Choctaw Indian—the contents of which are informative and educational. With the majority of the book dedicated to transcripts of hearings, testimonies, and correspondence related to Powell’s mission, readers gain an accurate understanding of what transpired and the opportunity to form their own opinions. Weaving details of Alex’s journey in with historical facts facilitates a personal connection to the overall story, portrays the life and spirit of the time, and provides a wide perspective of the series of events. The author’s periodic interpretation and summary of the factual information help readers to better understand the goings-on.
The amount of research that must have been required in writing OF PROVIDENCE: A Lifetime Chasing Hope is impressive and allows Powell’s story to be told from historical, real-life events. Carroll’s writing does more than simply relate historic information—it allows readers the vicarious sensation of experiencing the past.
With the exception of some events being repeated and out of chronological order, OF PROVIDENCE: A Lifetime Chasing Hope is a well-written, well-structured, and engaging read.
On a scale of 1 to 5, OF PROVIDENCE: A Lifetime Chasing Hope is rated 4.5 by Direct Book Reviews.