It’s 1865 and Andrew Gordon has returned to his family’s large Virginia plantation, Wilmington Manor.
The recent graduate, who is coming to terms with his sexuality, comes across a slave auction and purchases Edward. Following the purchase, a forbidden love affair begins between the two men.
That’s the basis for “Wilmington Manor” by James E. Laws Jr., who was inspired to tell a story about an interracial relationship between two men.
“We know these types of relationships existed,” Laws said. “They were not discussed or recorded because the subject was considered too taboo at the time.”
As an educator, Laws said he wanted to dispel some of the myths that have been historically depicted in the media about slaves being happily devoted to their masters.
“I wanted to focus on the ‘middle of the road slave’ that did what he or she had to do to survive, but also got revenge in small ways,” Laws said.
Through his book, Laws also will to shed light on the issue of depression among slaves. A few characters in the book experience bouts of depression.
Laws hopes readers come to the understanding that gay interracial relationships existed on plantations and that there was a psychological impact from slavery.
“Wilmington Manor” is filled with colorful characters and Laws hopes that his book will have a broad appeal and reach across racial lines.
“I hope that readers will acknowledge that, in spite of the horrible conditions of slavery and the strict caste system established by it, there were so many examples of blacks and whites working together,” Laws said.
Laws is a Virginia native and now lives in Washington, D.C. He is currently working on a book that will tackle the Jim Crow and segregation era.
“Wilmington Manor” is available for $15 on Amazon and Create Space.