AWARD-WINNING CREATIVE NONFICTION BIOGRAPHY
O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE "10 TITLES TO PICK UP NOW" 2018
1885-1914. Mary Fields, a fifty-three-year-old second-generation slave, emancipated and residing in Toledo, receives news of her friend's impending death. Remedies packed in her satchel, Mary rushes to board the Northern Pacific.
Days later, she arrives in the Montana wilderness to find Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their students, Indian girls rescued from nearby reservations, will not survive without assistance, Mary decides to stay.
She builds a hennery, makes repairs to living quarters, cares for the stock, and treks into the mountains to provide food. Brushes with death do not deter her. Mary drives a horse and wagon through perilous terrain and sub-zero blizzards to improve the lives of missionaries, homesteaders and Indians and, in the process, her own.
After weathering wolf attacks, wagon crashes and treacherous conspiracies by scoundrels, local politicians, and the state's first Catholic bishop, Mary Fields creates another daring plan. An avid patriot, she is determined to register for the vote. The price is high. Will she manifest her personal vision of independence?
MIANTAE METCALF MCCONNELL'S RESEARCH enabled USPS historians to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A fact-based chronicle of Fields' life in Montana from 1885 until her death in 1914, the narrative examines women rights, bootleg politics, Montana's turn-of-the-century transition from territory to state and its scandalous woman suffrage election.
For those interested in United States and American west History, this book portrays the nation's multiethnic struggle for human rights by presenting factual discoveries and personal life stories.
OPRAH MAGAZINE REVIEW
An indefatigable former slave who braved the Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend is the real-life subject of this 19th-century frontier narrative. Adventure abounds in the little-known tale of the heroic middle-aged woman who became the 1st African American mail carrier in the United States.-Hamilton Cain, Reviewer
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"Under McConnell's hand, the atmosphere, frontier challenges, and landscapes of Montana come to life. Mary Fields is a true historical figure, dramatized in novel format. Her story will delight readers who look for a blend of accurate historical facts, hard-hitting drama, and realistic scenes powered by a feisty protagonist whose values and concerns become part of the social changes sweeping the nation." -Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
"Miantae Metcalf McConnell has fashioned a historical narrative marrying prose and poetry, fact with creative writing. With the discerning eye of a photographer, the deft hand of a historian, and the literary heart of a poet, the life of Mary Fields, legendary black woman of Montana, rises majestically off the page into living history...it is the one book you must read."-Michael Searles, Author and History Professor Emeritus, Augusta University
MONTANA LIBRARY ASSOC.
...I felt like I was right there with Mary Fields...beautifully written, I could hardly put it down. Being a native Montanan who grew up in central Montana I knew the area. A definite read for everyone!--Debbi Kramer, Executive Director
Miantae Metcalf McConnell provides us with a great story and history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must-read for youths and adults. -Bruce A. Glasrud, History, Professor Emeritus, California State University