David Wright Faladé to discuss new novel Thursday in Manteo

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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By Joan L. Collins, Director, Outreach and Education, Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc.

At 6 p.m., Thursday, May 19, David Wright Faladé will be talking about his new novel, Black Cloud Rising, at the new College of The Albemarle-Dare campus building and will be available to autograph books. The book is a powerful fictional account of Richard Etheridge and the African Brigade, the unit of black freedmen who fought for the Union during the Civil War. The event sponsored by the Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc., Downtown Books and the College of The Albemarle will be the first book event held at the new Dare campus building. A lobby within the new building has been named the Keeper Richard Etheridge Lobby to honor the significance of Etheridge’s history and ties to the area.

David Wright Faladé is well known for his knowledge of Richard Etheridge. He co-authored the popular non-fiction book Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, a book considered a primary source about the heroic October 11, 1896, rescue of the schooner E.S. Newman by Keeper Richard Etheridge and his crew and Etheridge’s early life being enslaved on Roanoke Island. He has long been considered a subject matter expert regarding history of Keeper Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island lifesavers. His research played a key role in Keeper Etheridge and his crew being posthumously awarded
a Gold Lifesaving Medal by the U.S. Coast Guard in March 1996 for the daring rescue of the E.S. Newman. Wright Faladé is currently a professor of English at the University of Illinois and a 2021-2022 Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library.

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Black Cloud Rising, a fictional account of Etheridge’s service during the Civil War years before becoming the Keeper of the Pea Island Station, provides the opportunity for a new perspective for considering Etheridge’s life and his quest for freedom. It is a dramatic moving account of men who only weeks earlier had been enslaved, but were now Union infantrymen setting to fight their former owners. At the heart of the narrative is Sergeant Richard Etheridge, the son of a slave and her master, raised with some privileges but constantly reminded of his place. The new novel has received stellar reviews from the likes of the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Publisher’s Weekly.

Before the main 6 p.m. event, the Pea Island Cookhouse Museum at 622 Sir Walter Raleigh Street in Manteo will be open from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on May 19 and Wright Falade will be meeting friends and fans during that time. The Cookhouse Museum is just a few blocks away from the new College of The Albemarle-Dare campus building. The museum is dedicated to honoring Etheridge’s legacy and historic all-black Pea Island lifesaving station commanded as the nation’s first black keeper in the U.S. Life-Saving Service. A prominent life-sized statue of Keeper Richard Etheridge is located in the street roundabout next to the museum.

Black Cloud Rising is now available for purchase at Downtown Books, located at 103 Sir Walter Raleigh Street in Manteo.