TOMLINSON HILL, now a New York Times Bestseller!

I am a fifth-generation Texan who is the descendant of slave holders. When the slaves my family held became free, they took the Tomlinson name. Since I was a child, I have tried to understand what this legacy means for me and for the African American Tomlinsons. Tomlinson Hill tells the story of these two families: one African-American, one Anglo, with the same name and heritage.

After spending 11 years in Africa as the Nairobi bureau chief for The Associated Press, I returned home to learn the truth about my family, the black Tomlinsons and Texas history after the Civil War. The most famous and successful descendant from Tomlinson Hill is former professional football player LaDainian Tomlinson, a direct descendant of the slaves my family once held. Long after my family left Tomlinson Hill, he spent his summers as a child visiting his grandparents there. LaDainian is proud of his family history, including his last name.

Tomlinson Hill is the story of our families, and the story of America.

Order here

Upcoming Events:

Book signing at The TCU Book Store in Fort Worth, Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.
Film Screening and Book Signing, Austin’s George Washington Carver Center, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.
Louisville, Kentucky Authors at the Library, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

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Now a New York Times Bestseller!

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Tomlinson Hill is now officially a New York Times Bestseller after coming in at #23 in its first week on sale. Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the book and made sure we got off to a running start. I have no idea whether we will stay on the list, but even if its only [...]

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Tomlinsons talk to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air about Tomlinson Hill

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To me, slavery was in the distant past. I didn’t have a sense of belonging to that place. However, the descendants of the slaves I met on the hill … they lived with that fact every day. When they drove by Tomlinson Hill, it was a reminder of that history. They had known white Tomlinsons in the past. So while it was not unusual for them to know the descendants of the people who held them in slavery, it was not at all something I had experienced.

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Video: Pulling Cotton Versus Picking Cotton

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One of the most fun, and most informative, couples I met while working on Tomlinson Hill was Charles and Zelma Tomlinson. Charles is the grandson of Peter, the last black Tomlinson born into slavery on Tomlinson Hill. Zelma married Charles on the Hill when she was 17 years old and they’ve been together over 60 [...]

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