Local News

Man Writes Book About His Pain In Discovering Family's Past

Posted October 30, 2001

— Most people probably have something in their past that they wish did not exist, but one man discovered the tragedies of his family were almost overwhelming. Edward Ball had written a book, "Slaves in the Family," about his white family owning thousands of slaves. Now, he has written a new book.

"The Sweet Hell Inside" chronicles a black family from South Carolina, cousins of the white Ball family, who rise from the ashes of the Civil War to create a dynasty. They live in a rich world of art and culture and luxury, but it was far different from their white counterparts.

"They also occupied a kind of living purgatory, which was the Jim Crow South -- the segregated South where many doors were closed to them," Ball says.

Ball's family made a lot of money off of thousands of slaves. When WRAL talked with the author two years ago, the beauty of the old family plantation could not hide the pain of what he had discovered. His family had owned 5,000 slaves.

The original book was written in part as a gesture of healing to descendents of slaves and for his own family. While the gesture is sincere, Ball says he knows it is not enough.

"Because the costs of slave legacy are so high and the numbers of people our family damaged are so great, it could only be a symbolic gesture," he says.


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