September 21, 2008

You Load Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get....

I Owe My Soul: The Black Diamond Covenant
By Diane Mechem Kinser (2008)

I Owe My Soul is a book about three women who battle sexism, racism, and classism in the early 1900's in southern Ohio. Our heroines: Mary Rose Markham uses her wealth and social status for philanthropic endeavors; Jane Moore, a former rich brat, learns what it is like to live and love on the other side of the tracks; and Sarah Washington, descendant of slaves, battles for the right to use her God given talents with a pen, while trying to protect and make things better for her family.

Kinser starts by telling us about each woman. In doing so she paints a historical picture of the Southern Ohio towns of Nelsonville, San Troy and even the capitol city of Columbus, while weaving in the women’s personal stories of life and love in that time. Kinser then brings the women together. The Black Diamond Covenant; signifying their bond in the area of coal country known as Black Diamond.

This book does a wonderful job of melding history and great story telling. I was intrigued with each of the women’s personal stories and compelled to see how they would be brought together. As a former Buckeye, I was impressed with the skillful way the author used the state’s history as the catalyst to bond our heroines. They strove to take Ohio’s proud involvement in the underground railroad and women’s suffrage and advance it even further while battling those who did not believe in equality for all.

Mrs. Kinser is a professor at Columbus State Community College in Columbus Ohio, and was my professor when I attended school there many years ago. I recommend this book to all, not just Ohioans, who are interested in love stories, history and most of all friendship. The student gives the teacher an A.

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