PUBLISHED BY BIG DADDY PUBLISHERS
Copyright © 2016 by Big Daddy Publishers, LLC
FIRST BIG DADDY PUBLISHERS EDITION: 2015
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Political Elixir is John Trotter’s poignant story of politics told within the textured fabric of the American South as woven by threads of race, sex, class, power, hate, love, hope, and redemption. Trotter’s storyis deftly crafted with the nuanced images which can only be created by a literary artist who has experienced such scenes up close.
“This is a damn good novel!” – J. B. Stanley
“I couldn’t put it down!” – Norreese Haynes
“This novel is a page-turner!” – Sharlene Gipson
I promise you. You will love it! I loved it.” – Michael Vanyo
“This masterpiece of story-telling is destined to be a number one political novel for any time period, location, or culture. It ought to be in the library of anyone interested in politics and culture.” – James (Gunny) Yawn
This contemporary political novel is rooted in Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; Salvador, Brazil; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: and Washington, D. C. Southerners are uniquely concerned about roots – where you are from and where happenings took place. We Southerners are more place-bound than any other Americans. We want to know where you are from and who your parents are.
This is the story of how class, race, sex, hate, power, love, hope, and redemption are interwoven in life. The backdrop of the story is two near octogenarian white men who are enormously wealthy and fathered two sons by two Negro maids who worked in their respective homes. These two men, who were close friends since their glory days at Ole Miss University and the University of Georgia Law School, were scions of huge family wealth. One knew from the beginning that he had sired a little colored boy. The other found out very suddenly many years later. Both men have big dreams for their mixed-race sons, their African American sons.
This is the story of how all of their lives intersected and formed a powerful bond. A story of redemption, born of mistrust and doubt. The near aborted relationships remained intact, though sometimes dangling by the proverbial threads. The bonds of family and brotherhood prevail.
This novel is quintessentially a Southern political novel with a contemporary national backdrop. The cultural themes which are addressed here are often left unspoken in polite Southern society – white and black. There has always been a tenuous mixture of the races in the American South, whether in the co-mingling of DNA or just in the social and political interactions. Many things were and are understood but left unsaid or only spoken of in hushed tones, as when a slave woman’s baby came out very light in color and the madam of the plantation secretly and stressfully mulled over whether her husband was the father or one of her sons had just sired another child. Words remained unspoken or muted. A thunderous silence hovered over the plantation. And black people of America do not have one monolithic hue but represent a kaleidoscope of “blackness.” A true fifty shades of black.
My great-great grandfather, Col./Rep. Robert A. Alston, was murdered in the Georgia Capitol on March 11, 1879 as a result of his undertaking to outlaw the convict lease system, a heinous system of peonage of the newly Freedmen in Georgia. The convict lease system has been described as “slavery by another name.” Alston had a first cousin, David T. Howard, whose father was Alston’s uncle. Howard was born a slave in 1849 and later became the first licensed mortician of color in Georgia. He was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Georgia around the turn of the century. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. attended David T. Howard Elementary School, and Howard was a key leader in raising the money for the first African American high school in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington High School, where Dr. King attended. Atlanta’s second African American high school was named David T. Howard High School. Some of Atlanta’s luminaries who attended David T. Howard High School were Walt (the Clyde) Frazier of the New York Knickerbockers’ 1970 World Championship team, Vernon Jordan who serves as President Bill Clinton’s attorney and close friend, and Maynard Jackson who was Atlanta’s first African American mayor and whose name sits atop the world’s busiest airport.
David T. Howard had a white brother from the Decatur area who represented Georgia in the U. S. Congress for many years, was a close friend and ally to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and was a legendary criminal attorney in Georgia, William Schley Howard, the grandfather of Georgia’s former and popular Lieutenant Governor, Pierre Howard who was considered progressive on the issue of race in Georgia. Congressman Howard and Governor John Slaton (who, by the way, was featured in President John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage) both honored David T. Howard, speaking at the former slave’s funeral in 1935. I am quite certain that nothing was mentioned about the two Howards’ familial relationship. Understood but unspoken. Polite but silent. The Southern way.
Perhaps this novel will help Southerners and non-Southerners alike understand how far the American South has progressed when it comes to race…and perhaps how far we Southerners and Americans still have to go. By the way, Robert A. Alston has several descendants here in Georgia who are of mixed-race heritage, among whom are my children.
John R. Alston Trotter
October 10, 2015, Newnan, Georgia, USA
This work is a contemporary political novel. I had fun writing it. Most of it was written while I stayed in Brazil. I distinctly remember developing one of my favorite characters in the novel on the phone with my colleague, Norreese Haynes. Norreese assisted me in developing the peculiar and baffling character of Jimmy Lee Jackson. Norreese also assisted me on different cultural and social aspects of the novel, particularly in the matter of race. We were together in the States one evening when we came up with the name of the novel, Political Elixir. Norreese is a very talented and loyal person, and he serves as CEO of MACE, a private teachers union that I founded over 20 years ago. Preston Haliburton, one of my young attorney friends (with whom I actually attended law school when I was an older gentleman, if I may call myself a gentleman) provided key understanding for me on social and culture features in the novel, especially related to fraternities. Like Norreese, Preston is true friend, and he has a great understanding of Constitutional Law. Tom (Thug) Berry, another close friend and confidant, provided some insights on how certain thugs may unnerve the elite and effete. Thug taught school in the tough environments of Chicago and Atlanta and has done work for MACE for many years. He provides plain-spoken wisdom, and Thug is loyal to his friends, one of whom I am glad to be.
Other friends who have assisted me in life and have in their own way, consciously or not, contributed to my understanding of politics, business, education, and different facets of culture are Rep. Darryl W. Jordan, Commissioner Robbie Lee Moore, Commission Chairman J. Charley Griswell, the late William L. (“Woodman”) Woods, Esq., Rep. Frank I. Bailey, Jr., Rep. Sandra G. Scott, School Board Member Linda Crummy and Terry Crummy, James (Gunny) Yawn, Professor Dr. Carvin L. Brown, Sheriff Victor Hill, the late Superintendent Dr. Bob Livingston, the late Principal Dr. Donald Garrett, Billy G. Harper, III, Joshua B. Stanley, and U. S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the latter of whom I first met over 30 years ago when he was a “back bencher” and futuristic in his thinking, and I was proud when he ascended to the Speakership and proudly voted for him in the GOP Presidential Primary in 2012.
For those on the MACE Team who keep the MACE Train steaming down the track, Norreese Haynes, Benjamin Barnes, Renee Bishop, Rafael Garcia, Sharlene Gipson, and Michael Robinson, I am always grateful for your hard work and dedication to the teachers.
For Kelli at Crown Printing, thanks for formatting the book and designing the cover. You always do a great job. For Jerry, Sharon, and Joy, I thank you too!
I have a large, loving, and gracious family both here in the States and in Brazil. My sister Patti and my brother Dan are the best siblings whom a man could have, and they have beautiful children and grandchildren who are delightful to be around. My mother, Jo Ann Frazier Trotter, is pushing 91 years old and is still kicking as if she were only 50. She has always been a sweetie, and she gets sweeter as the years go by. She and my father, the late Daniel D. Trotter, Sr., always provided warmth and love in a very structured environment. I couldn’t have had better parents. For my children, Marissa (Riss), Robert (Rob), Matthew (Matt) and for my wife, Luzinete (Luci), and my step-son, Victor (Vito), I thank you for everything!