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Telling Icon Alex Haley Told This Author “…Your Story Begins Where ‘Roots’ Ended”

Thelma Battle-Buckner has chronicled a rich and arresting family history in her forthcoming literary offering, The Battle of a Daytime Nightmare, which is due out April 26, 2013, the author’s 81st birthday. She stitches together, brilliantly, a dazzling tapestry of her family’s will to overcome whatever obstacles life’s circumstance placed before it.

The Battle of a Daytime Nightmare is a breathtaking account of Dr. Buckner and her family’s journey from 1830 ‘til now – with a surprising connection to one of today’s corporate giants. Her narrative exemplifies unity. It is rife with pleasant and stormy unpleasant surprises. It is penned in the plain and poetic speech, style and spirit of her culture. In some ways, the Battle-Buckner story amounts to a sharply focused snapshot of the travails of Black America, of “Making way out of no way.” The substance of her life flows broad and low like a good Sunday morning sermon; it speaks of work, ties, struggle, joys, victory, religion, music and undying love, not only for her family, but for humans at large.

“During the early spring of 1987, after twenty years of research for this story, I had the great pleasure of meeting Alex Haley in the Twin Cities. We met twice total; once at the Channel 5 TV station. While we were in the green room, we talked about my research. I asked him if he thought I was taking too long. He said, “No, it takes a long time to find the truth and tell it.”

We met again in January 1992 at the Hilton Hotel, when he was the speaker for an Urban League breakfast, about three weeks before his death. As he was signing his name on my printed program, he stopped to look at me and said, “I remember you from Channel 5 TV. Don’t stop. Finish the book because it sounds like your story starts where ‘Roots’ ended.” So, I was determined to complete the research.

I am not angry with anyone. I just continue to become uneasy when I talk about this situation of what happened to my parents on my 12th birthday.”

The saga is of a family of sharecroppers (often unpaid) and landowners; of dreamers and leaders who were motivated by a driving spirit to become something better than they were at the moment. Today, the Battle-Buckner clan spans across America, from Mississippi, Alabama and other southern locals to Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and places beyond. The family’s kinship network through marriages and great migrations is astounding. There may be as many as 300 identifiable family members in Minnesota alone.

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