Orlando author to discuss ‘A White Man’s Woman’ at Jan. 9 event
BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
When the F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival gets underway this month in Daytona Beach, one of the featured authors will be Malvin Ann Williams-Tyson of Orlando whose book is titled “A White Man’s Woman.’’
Based on a true story, Williams-Tyson tells how a Black girl was molested and raped by White men while growing up in Arlington, Ga., a small town near Albany. That girl was Georgie Mae Lang, Williams-Tyson’s mother.
Two of Williams-Tyson’s siblings have White fathers as a result of rape.
“It is my mother’s biography. It illustrates how she was treated as a young teen in this small town in Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s before the Civil Rights Movement when Jim Crow laws were practiced very strongly. In addition to Jim Crow laws, there were also unspoken rules that tormented her during this time,” Williams-Tyson told the Daytona Times.
“One of those unspoken rules in that town was White men could rape and have their way with young Black girls without any consequences and the Black community was not allowed to say anything or question their actions. Once that happened to a young Black girl, she was labeled and called ‘A White man’s woman,’ meaning that other White men in the community would target her also.’’
Williams-Tyson said her mother was first raped at age 16 and gave birth to her first son at age 17.
The book goes into detail about the bitter hatred and abuse that Blacks endured in Arlington and surrounding areas.
Jan. 9 presentation
Williams-Tyson is scheduled to discuss her book at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival. The event starts at 10 a.m. at the Midtown Cultural and Educational Center, 925 George Engram Blvd. Admission is $3.
The festival actually kicks off at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8 with an Author Meet and Greet at the center, which will include a dinner. The cost of that event is $25. The evening will feature performances by Amy Alysia and the Soul Operation Band, poetry by Devery Broox. Special guest will be Brian W. Smith.
Along with Williams-Tyson, authors participating in the weekend festival are Allie Braswell, Michael R. King, Tanisha Renee, Bishop Derek Triplett, Dr. Evelyn Bethune, Daytona Times Publisher Charles W. Cherry II, Michael Pyle, Angie Bee, Sharon Lucas, Jannie Rogers, Tina Brown, Milton McColloch, Black Topp, LaQuita Cameron, Susin Peterson and Cynthia Parker White.
The F.R.E.S.H. Book festival was created by Donna M. Gray-Banks, community resource coordinator for the City of New Smyrna Beach. The F.R.E.S.H. stands for fiction, romance, erotica, spiritual and health. Gray-Banks also is the author of “Ila’s Diamonds” and “Ila’s Diamonds II.’’
A taboo topic
For Williams-Tyson, it’s an opportunity to showcase her book and discuss a topic that has been taboo in families for generations. Her mother, who is now 75, also plans to attend the book festival.
Williams-Tyson was born in Edison, Ga. and raised in Orlando. She is a graduate of Jones High School and Florida State University. A computer analyst in her civilian career, she is a human resources Sergeant Major in the military. She has been in the U.S. Army Reserves nearly 30 years.
Williams-Tyson said she was an adult when she learned of her mother’s abuse. The fact that her mother didn’t raise her and her siblings was troubling.
“I did not know my mother’s story growing up. There were many secrets that caused anger in me. My grandmother raised my two brothers and I as well as her own three children,” Williams-Tyson explained. “Therefore my brother and I thought that we were all brothers and sisters until we entered elementary school my grandmother told us that Georgie was our mother.
“Then once we all entered junior high school, we were told that my brothers have White fathers after they defended to the hilt that they aren’t White and indeed Black. They both were pretty devastated.’’
‘The whole, ugly truth’
Williams-Tyson said her mother was criticized for bearing mixed-race children even when the family moved to Orlando in 1963. She moved to South Florida the children were raised by their grandparents.
“My anger began growing because I felt my mother should be with her children and there was never an explanation of why she was not with us. My first year in college I found the nerve to confront her and I went to her with a little chip on my shoulder. Then she sat me down and told me the whole, ugly truth about what she encountered.’’
Williams-Tyson said she had many questions for her grandmother.
“I could never seem to get my mother’s label of “a White man’s woman’ out of my system. I would ask many friends and acquaintances if they had ever heard of that term and no one ever did. This haunted my mother for most of her life and she was very strong-willed but has never totally healed, so I felt I needed to tell her story for her healing and the healing and liberation of many other women that encountered rape and molestation.’’
Williams-Tyson said the response to the book has been great and she has even received encouragement from Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant, an advice columnist for Essence magazine for 25 years.
“Reactions from people have been overwhelmingly positive and sincere,” she stated. “Many of them felt the strength to share their own personal stories with me. In many cases, some stated that it was first time they could talk about their own tragedies and my book gave them the will to talk.’’
For more information about the festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website ilasdiamonds.sharepoint.com or call 386-627-4353.