The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early

The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early

The Other Two-Fifths, historic novel detailing the fight for racial equality and its human toll on black Americans, follows the turbulent lives of the Carter, Amos, Oliver, Sturgis, and LeBlanc families through two centuries in their struggle for civil rights.

The shadow of Abe Lincoln disappears in the catastrophic race riot shattering the Springfield, Illinois community in 1908. Despite the model of a harmonious community, a labor strike in the mines pitted blacks against whites. A lone man seeking revenge seizes the moment, raging a war against the Carter family. The cauldron of racial hatred leads to the destruction of two black communities, claiming seven lives. Hollis Carter escapes. He begins a journey of social justice; one that continues on in his children and grandchildren.

The Carter legacy becomes an organization, covert and lethal, in 1956 Chicago. The Amos family uses the organization to save a young black man from murder, as they fight injustices not tackled in courtrooms. It is this same organization that saves four black voter registration workers and a lone white freedom rider who fall into a deadly KKK ambush in 1969 Mississippi.

Amos Carter’s great-granddaughter and her husband, two survivors of the bloody Mississippi Voter Registration Drive, recall the pain and celebrate the victory during the historic inauguration of the first African-American president of the United States.

Reviews: The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early

The Other Two-Fifths is another reminder of how we treat one-another and how so many lives are affected forever. Early writes from experience, having lived through the Civil Rights era, seen all the horrors, and will always remember. I highly recommend this book for all races and religions. We must stop being judgmental and prejudiced.

Joan Early's historic fiction account of one family's fight for social justice details the heartache and violence of racism. The author was born in Mississippi and helped register voters during the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. She writes with authority and passion!

Excerpt: The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early

Reverend Samuel Copeland was addressing the gathering.

“Minorities were pigeonholed for poverty when the institutions of higher learning summarily denied admittance under the absurd contention of inferior intelligence. It wasn’t because we were poor; so were most of them. The Ordinance of 1785 established the system of giving lands for aiding public schools and universities. Section 16 of every township was set aside for public schools. Even after it became acceptable to educate the descendants of those whose sweat and blood pioneered this land, the halls of lower and higher learning were usually drafty old churches with hand me down books.”

Reverend Copeland wiped his brow with a large white handkerchief, took a visual sweep of the room and continued. Camille’s eyes darted back to the young white man, sitting attentively, and smiling at the child whose thumb was anchored in his mouth.

“Under the Merrill Act of 1863, public land for the founding of agricultural and mechanical arts colleges, known by the name land-grant colleges, was given to each state according to the population. We were counted in the census, but we didn’t get any of the funds.Why educate the workers? That would only make them aspire to higher positions. Keep them poor and dependent. They say poverty makes you clever, and if that’s true, we should be cleaver enough to make our way in this world with only half a chance, which is all we’re likely to get.

“That’s where change comes into the picture. Instead of talking about what the man is doing to us, we need to stop and look at all we’re doing to ourselves and to each other. I see moral decay and disrespect all around me. Mix that with indifference and dependency, and the situation becomes hopeless. Heaved on top is the most pandemic ailment of all—ignorance. In the last ten years, a staggering number of lives have been lost in the fight for equality. It saddens me to see the heirs of this struggle squandering the fruits of past labors. We worship false gods, praise decadence, and exalt paper lions.”

Eli took Camille’s hand and she moved closer to him on the pew. She had not expected a sermon, and though she agreed with Reverend Copeland, she wanted to get on with the day.

“I keep hearing about ‘colored problems.’ There’s no such thing. What ails this nation is everybody’s problem. Black people can only remain down if someone holds them there, which means that person is also stuck on the bottom. We shouldn’t be on the bottom. Not now, not ever. Our elders with slave names and the scars of segregation are counting on us to make a difference. Their courage is our pride. Their pain should be our salvation.”

About the Author

Following a lengthy career in Mortgage Banking and Mortgage Law, Joan Early focused on the love of books she developed as a child, both reading and writing. Her first writing effort won first place in Ebony Magazine’s literary contest, and enriched her desire to pen her thoughts. She continued writing historical fiction and stories based partly on stories told by her ancestors, but changed to contemporary romance. Sara’s Reward, NightSweats, Heartstrings, A Tangled Web are available in eBook, as are her first novels, Look Both Ways, Fireflies, Oak Bluffs, Friends in Need, and Separate Dreams.

Joan’s latest novel, The Other Two-Fifths, is a walk back in time, and chronicles events that led to the formation of the NAACP. It also features events taken from her early life in Mississippi, where Joan affirms learning “the best and the worst” of what we can expect from others. Joan continues writing both genres, while enjoying her husband and family, traveling, and her current career in Real Estate. Joan and husband Dale currently reside in the Beaumont, Texas area, while also maintaining a home in Houston.  Learn more about Joan on her website,

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