Her neighbor and the policemen filed into the living room. She (Havah) shut the door behind them. The taller officer, an imposing presence with dark skin, fascinated her. Although she had read about them in Professor Dietrich’s books about Africa and American history, she had never met a Negro face to face.
At once, his kind expression and gentle manners allayed her deepest fears. He bowed at the waist. “Please excuse our rudeness, ma’am. I’m Officer Lafayette Tillman and this is my partner, Pat Mulligan.”
~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Published by Argus Publishing
Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency
As From Silt and Ashes, the sequel to Please Say Kaddish for Me, opens, Havah and Arel Gitterman have been in Kansas City for only five months. Plagued with post-traumatic stress, Havah suffers vivid nightmares of Kishinev. In this first chapter, Havah dreams she is fighting off pogromists and, in the process, screams and breaks her front window. Their next door neighbor, who is certain that Arel is beating his wife, calls the police.
One of the officers who shows up at the door is Lafayette A. Tillman, who actually lived in Kansas City.
Born in Indiana in 1859, he studied music at Oberlin College in Ohio and attended Wayland Seminary in Washington D.C. He moved to Kansas City with his wife Amy in the 1880’s where he opened a barber shop and they raised three children, Lon, Portia and Junne.
During the Spanish-American War he joined the volunteer infantry where he was appointed the rank of first lieutenant in a black regiment. When he returned, some influential white citizens who appreciated his loyalty and patriotism secured him a position on the police force.
Havah finds an unexpected ally in Officer Tillman who can’t believe what she and Arel have suffered at the hands of so-called Christians. More than once he proves himself to be a true friend to the Gitterman family.
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