Lucy Jane is the story of a Mulatto woman from northwest Albemarle County, VA where Charlottesville is the county seat. Her story takes place from age 10, four years after the close of the Civil War to 1919. Her life was that of a farm girl, descended from free Mulattos that owned land in the county since the 18th century. She was very beautiful, and constantly turned the eye of the local men regardless of race or age. However, she had no pedigree in the community. Her brothers are carpenters and earn respectable livings and they all leave the farm to go to the city. However, after her brothers marry there seems to be no place for her. She can neither read nor write. She ends up back on the farm where it is unsafe. Lecherous men constantly want to have her, if only for a fleeting moment. She is sexually irresistible. Yet she is simple, understated in thought and speech and at best naïve. Her mother Peachy fears for her safety.
However, Tom Early, the white boy next door since childhood has always fancied Lucy Jane despite the fact she was daughter of the help. He is entitled, handsome and can have his pick of any girl, but chooses to marry another entitled local woman. It was the proper thing to do. However, his marriage is unhappy and his wife is barren. She insists on material things to compensate for not bearing children and after a while Tom resents her. Accustomed to domestic help, she demands a Negro maid.
Peachy, Lucy Jane’s mother is older and can’t work nor can she protect Lucy Jane. She is desperate to save her daughter and asks the white neighbor whose family she once was a domestic for to take Lucy Jane in. Tom obliges, with nefarious motives, to take in the Mulatto female he has always sexually desired as live in help. In short order, Lucy Jane is pregnant, with twins. Being unmarried, rumors spread like wildfire. She is many layers tarred and feathered by her family and the community but also Tom’s resentful wife. Lucy Jane and the twins all live in the house of her employer, the father of her children, and his wife.
This bittersweet story is based on documented historic record wrapped in the enigma of oral legend. The tight knit community crosses racial barriers but because of isolation and eighteenth century Appalachian culture is full of contradictions at its core but is reflective of the greater American culture as a whole. Lucy Jane deals with uncomfortable topics from over 100 years ago that still resonate through the fiber of American culture to this day.
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This bittersweet story is based on documented historic record wrapped in the enigma of oral legend.
. Lucy Jane deals with uncomfortable topics from over 100 years ago that still resonate through the fiber of American culture to this day.