Monday, February 11, 2013


Author Peggy Allen Towns, known throughout Alabama as a historian of African American history, set out to tell her own family’s story, while clearing up more than a century of mendacity, which has sidestepped many historians concerning Colored Troops in the Civil War, thus, vindicating the accounts of those long forgotten souls.

The book, Duty Driven, filled with historical documents, surpasses Towns’ own family history and grabs at the very fiber of our nation’s reality, dispelling myths about the Colored prisoners of war.  Author Towns does a superb job presenting facts and vivid imagery while delving into the soldiers’ extraordinary journey.

The project didn’t come without issues, Towns admits. “Since my goal was to inform, writing a non-fiction book about the Civil War that would bridge our past with the truth by incorporating first person accounts was very challenging.”

She states that marketing in major book stores presents problems. “Many of the major chains do not permit print on demand authors to come into the store for book signings and discussions; even though the book can be purchased from them online.”

Author Towns says, “When writing about your family, you must first determine a specific time period or episode that you wish to write on.” She also suggests the importance of authors deciding which family members to write about.

“Look at old diaries,” Towns advises. “Census records, deeds, military records, marriage, death records and newspaper articles.” She goes on to say, “Visit archives, interview living ancestors and family friends. It is important to remember, when they are gone, their stories are gone. The author will also need to determine what audience he/she is trying to reach with an interesting theme.”