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Roebuck native launches book to help children learn untold side of local Black history

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ROEBUCK, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg native kicked off Black History Month by launching a book with hopes of changing the narrative to showcase the untold side of trailblazers in the Walnut Grove neighborhood in Roebuck, S.C.

Shaquan McDowell said generations of his family members have lived in Roebuck for over 200 years. McDowell’s descendants were free people during slavery and the Civil War, but he heard few stories growing up in school about free Black people in the area.

The book, E.L. Moran, is loosely inspired by McDowell’s ancestor named Elizabeth, who he describes as a well connected free Black woman in Roebuck during slavery. According to McDowell, he believes that Elizabeth had close ties with the Wofford and Blackstock families in Spartanburg.

The book was written to help children, ages 7-10, discover another side of Black history here in the Upstate.

McDowell said he wants the story of E.L. Moran to shed light on the side of Black history that highlights strength instead of moments of enslavement.

“I want students to be able to go into their classrooms, read a book and know that they are just as important in history as any other person or any other friends regardless of their background.” McDowell said. “I want students to be able to envision themselves in those conversations and in the larger historical timeline that they’re being taught.”

McDowell hopes to have his book in the hands of children in schools across the Upstate.

For information on E.L. Moran, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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