The University of Church

Black PansyTimes have changed for Black America when before the Civil War, it was illegal in many states to learn to read and write. While most of White America did not attend college, it was an opportunity if the family had means. It was however, a big challenge for Blacks. So after the war, when slavery was abolished and they were given more freedom to live as they choose, the church was an option and many Black families attended. Within these churches, they learned to read and write through studying the Bible. Canva Blue Violet CoverAnd since the “good book” was also a history book, a book of laws, a cultural journal and a vast literary work of proverbs, prophesy and poetry, becoming a scholar became an option for religious Blacks. The evolution of the church brought us great leaders like Martin Luther King and gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson and of course a rich music legacy of soul, rhythm and blues, funk, rap and good ‘ol rock ‘n ‘roll.New Cover Black Lilac

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

Book Two, Blue Violet:

Book Three, Black Lilac:


Black & White Civil War Era Romances… Was it Love?

Black PansyI believe it was William Somerset Maugham who wrote in one of his novels that we love someone because they bring us pleasure. That philosophy offers up possibilities besides the usual heart-thumping emotions we call love. If pleasure equals love, options could include loving someone for their wealth, their sexuality, their prestige, power, beauty… you name it. And who are we to judge?

Canva Blue Violet CoverThere are plenty of historical records of black women cohabiting with white men and white women with black men. But I find myself asking… did blacks and whites during the Civil War Era truly love their partner of a different skin color? With the lack of freedom for blacks you really do have to ask. Was this relationship I see on paper, good old-fashioned love? The kind that makes your heart go… thump, thump, thump? Or was it coercion, comfort, security or freedom that the relationship provided?Front Cover Black Lilac

After the war ended, Mississippi was so concerned that blacks and whites would have relationships, they stiffened the penalty to life in prison. But the historical records reveal that during the most dangerous times, mixed couples risked it all to be with the ones they loved.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: