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In 1914, a white man named James Richardson married a black woman named Edna Howell in what would seem one of the least hospitable places for a mixed-race couple in Jim Crow’s America: south Alabama. And with that exchange of vows began the story that made W. Ralph EubanksHouse at the End of the Road possible. An objective, journalistic look at three generations of a biracial family in the South would have held more than enough lessons to sustain a book, particularly in an age when the U.S. president is himself the product of an interracial marriage. But this is Eubanks’ story too—Richardson and Howell are his grandparents—and because of that, he offers an unavoidably personal look at defiance and acceptance of race, the burdens and advantages of it, racism, family love, and a search for identity that centers around both conflict and reconciliation.

EUBANKS SPEAKS AT 6 P.M. AT THE CITY OF FAIRFAX REGIONAL LIBRARY, 10360 NORTH ST., FAIRFAX. FREE. (703) 293-6227.