Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White," by Daniel J. Sharfstein

As many of my readers already know, John P. Gibson, my South Carolina-born great-great-great-grandfather, has become my proverbial brick wall, and during the past ten years, I have read anything and everything that I could find about the Gibson family of South Carolina.  It seems that John P. Gibson was one of many Gibson family members, including Stephen, Tobias, and Gideon, who migrated to Mississippi during the early 1800s. In fact, Port Gibson, Mississippi, formerly known as "Gibson's Landing," and the town dubbed by General Sherman as the town "too beautiful to burn," was named for members of this Gibson family.  Several times in the past, I have posted here on this blog about my unsuccessful research attempts to connect my John P. Gibson to these other Gibson family members or to discover the name of John's parents in South Carolina. 

So yesterday, when I was about to put away the Gibson family file for yet another time, I received an email from a reporter with a Kentucky newspaper who wanted to interview me about my connections to the Gibson family of South Carolina.  It seems that she had seen links to blog posts that I had written about the Gibson family, including my post entitled, "Ghosts of Our Ancestors." When we spoke by phone earlier today, the reporter explained to me that she is writing an article centered around the subject matter of a recent book that traces three families of African-American heritage, including the Gibson family of South Carolina, as they transitioned from black to white during the past two centuries. The book is entitled "The Invisible Line:  Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White," and is written by Daniel J. Sharfstein, an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University, who teaches courses on property, legal history, and race and the law. In his well-researched book that has already received some fantastic reviews from well-known publications, Sharfstein also chronicles the Spencer Family of Kentucky and the Walls Family that settled in Washington, D.C.  Needless to say, I am anxious to read my contact's article that may include references to my interview today and to read Sharfstein's new book. In fact, I just ordered the book and will be writing a review on this blog in the very near future.  


  1. How cool! It would be interesting to see the article and the book looks like a very interesting read, too.

  2. That is so cool. I'm excited for you!