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A Mystery Book Biography About a Black Woman That is Not Part of African American History

Rick Briamonte

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The story of black and white in America runs deep through our conscience. Each of us has both an experience and opinion on the subject. Whether it recalls a black man, a black woman or child it doesn't rise to the level necessary to be considered “text" worthy of African American History.

This book biography represents the history of just one unusual drama that had its beginnings wrapped in bigotry customary to the times. If there is one inspirational story to open our minds and hearts to our commonality rather than our differences, this mystery book can be considered at the top.

The inexperience of youth, who often sees life through ideals, rarely has the opportunity to deliberately manipulate social justice and force their romanticized values onto others. Even with the best of intentions it can create havoc for those least prepared to deal with the resulting catastrophe. But this is exactly what happened in the early 1950's.

Fauna Hodel, the Caucasian progeny of a prominently social California family, was given away at birth to a Black maid, Jimmie Lee, who worked as a restroom attendant in a Nevada casino. The purpose was to make sure that a black family raise her baby. In her 16 year old mother's naive eyes, Blacks were the only people capable of unconditional love. To insure that the child would never return to her emotionally reclusive white family, she provided the race of the father as “Negro" on the birth certificate. The child grew up believing that she was of mixed race.

This is not just the story of a young girl and a Black woman who struggled to overcome extreme poverty and enormous social prejudice, but also the story of perseverance. But through perseverance, and strength of character, the will to overcome these enormous obstacles prevails and succeeds.

To understand how difficult living in a racist world where you clearly don't belong, yet trying to blend in to survive, one needs to be able to walk in those footsteps. But for us to do so cannot be accomplished voluntarily. To find the true knowledge of emotional & physical reliance requires either slavery or kidnapping, two serious felonies universally frowned upon.

Our story begins with the dubious behavior from those responsible who initiated and controlled the events. The actions of Fauna's grandfather who was accused and acquitted of incestuous relations with his daughter Tamar, and Tamar who insisted but did not name the father as “Negro", and the grandmother unmoved in her resolve to eliminate this tragedy from the family, become only passing consequences. But for a child, to begin life buried in a haystack, it's a lifetime of absurdities.

This story allows us to flow into the life of a young woman as she searches for the truth. We can feel what it's like to not know where she came from, nor why she is there in the first place. Her only hope is a few words remixed a dozen different ways, but never enough to piece together an answer.

With a very young Tamar leaving unanswered questions for Fauna, and Jimmie Lee not answering those questions for fear of losing her daughter, neither mother could foresee the consequences of their actions. Actions that affect generations yet to come. We can all learn something from this misguided manipulation. This part of African American history should not be left without notice.

The author began writing in high school and throughout college and first published articles in sporting and finance magazines. The recent release of his first full biographical novel has created a buzz in Hollywood for the film rights. Click on the link to find out more about this mystery and see some photos of these real characters at Some of his work on business and finance can be found at


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