Mini Series for "I Cannot Tell a Lie, The True Story of George Washington's African American Descendants"

Possible New Miniseries on the book, I Cannot Tell A Lie?

In the late 1940s, scattered rumors began to reverberate across the country that George Washington had fathered a son, West Ford, with a slave named Venus.  Almost 64 years later, major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as broadcast programs including the NBC Today Show, the CBS Morning Show, MSNBC, PBS Frontline, and most recently, The History Channel have featured our family’s claim to the Washington bloodline. 

The Traveler Weekly is proud to present an interview with one of our own, Linda Allen B. Hollis, on the release of her 4th Edition of: "I Cannot Tell A Lie: The True Story of George Washington’s African  American Descendants." Linda has graciously agreed to allow us to print the book in its entirety exclusively to our readers in the next several months.

The Traveler Weekly talks to Linda Allen B. Hollis, author of I Cannot Tell A Lie, interview by: Angela Allen Henry, Managing Editor

TW: Why is the book being released with a new cover and what changes can we expect?

LABH: The book was chosen by my publisher to be placed in the Star and Editor's Choice Program because of lucrative book sales.  Their editors wanted me to add more documentation to the back matter of the book, and along with those designations came a cover change. 

TW:  I must say, the new cover is very provocative and thought provoking.  What do you want to tell people who have already purchased the 1st edition?

LABH:  The 1st edition is a collector’s item.  It will now be considered rare.  The editions with the new bookcover (2nd, 3rd, and 4th) offer more compelling evidence to our family’s claim.  The 4th Edition is the one to be considered for the screenplay.

TW:  Screenplay?  For what media?

LABH:  I have been approached by several screenwriters in California who tell me that, I Cannot Tell A Lie, is the next “Roots” or “North and South.”  They think it will be a great two-day, two-hour television miniseries.

TW:  Wow, can I be in it?  No, I’m just kidding.  When can we expect to see it on television?

LABH:  The writing is in its initial stages, maybe in a year or so. 

TW:  Let’s get down to specifics.  This book is being released as narrative nonfiction, so that means that you have given away many of our family secrets.  How did you handle this?

LABH:  Writing this book was a deeply personal undertaking for me.  And, writing about my ancestors, even when most of them have been dead for over 200 years, also carried additional challenges.  I also took the risk of revealing more about our contemporary, immediate family members than they might be comfortable with, as you can attest to.  Let’s say, it makes for many interesting family reunions. 

TW:   That’s true, but this book also talks about residents who actually live in Peoria.  What about them?

LABH:  Well, the story covers factual incidents; however, some of the names of the people cited in the book have been changed to protect their privacy. 

TW:  How does the younger generation of living Ford descendants feel about this story?  Is the history as important to them as it is to older family members?

LABH:  As with all families, there are certain members who are more interested in the family’s legacy.  As you are aware, we make it a point to keep our story alive with the younger ones through active participation in family discussions. 

TW:  As a result of all the research for the book, you’ve become an expert in early American history and race-relations. Do you plan on writing another book on all that you have discovered?

LABH:  Yes, you can expect other books from me on this subject and other little known stories about African Americans and people of color who have been rendered invisible by Western Eurocentric history. 

TW:  What do you want people to know about West Ford?

LABH:  I would like the public to know that West Ford was more than a shameful entry in the record of America’s slavery past.  He was a man who survived slavery and lived to tell his story to his children and his grandchildren.  He was a landowner and a dignitary who rose to prominence despite the onerous burden hanging on the backs of his race.  My family and I seek to restore West Ford’s visibility and to recover an important part of U.S. history.

TW:  Lastly, where can the book be purchased?

LABH:  The book can be ordered from your local bookstore, or by going online to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, or iUniverse.com. You can also get more information on the web site:  www.Westfordlegacy.com and L.A.Hollis.com.

**Note:  I Cannot Tell A Lie: The True Story of George Washington’s African American Descendants has received the Editor’s Choice designation from publisher, iUniverse.  This designation denotes a mark of creative quality.  Read what three independent editors said about Allen-Bryant’s book.

I Cannot Tell A Lie” contains scenes and characters that will stay in my mind long after I close the book.  It was truly a personal pleasure to read.”

                                                 Sarah E. Azizi, Editor

“The author starts the book in the middle of action, which is compelling and makes me wish that every book started that way.”

                                                Candance Sinclair, Editor 

“The use of dialect was superb.  It included not only phonetic words but grammatical structure.” 

                                                J. McConkey, Editor