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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Author shares family memoir

Alex Hoben/The Collegian NE associate professor Annette Cole, author Cassandra Lane and former faculty member Murray Fortner discuss their pasts.

campus editor


The NE English Department held their annual African American Read-In Event Feb. 13. They brought out Cassandra Lane, the author of “We are Bridges,” to speak to students. 

In her memoir, Lane talks about how her great grandfather was lynched in 1904 and the generational impact it left behind. 

“What are the repercussions of that from generation to generation to generation?” Lane said. I remember my grandfather being in his 80s and crying in his recliner about how he never got to know his father.”  

Her memoir entwines the stories of her grandparents into Lane’s own journey as she grew into adulthood.  

“I wanted to look at myself through therapy, through writing, through examining my past, looking at my ancestors to see how to understand trauma, not just my own trauma, but generational trauma.” Lane said. 

Lane looked into generational trauma and it pushed her to write her book. 

“The stuff that we’re dealing with is connected to family,.” Lane said. “I started reading about epigenetics and …a science now shows that there is a direct link through ourselves, we have memory. So I really started learning about epigenetics, and then applying that to my family.” 

Lane found that the past was intertwined with the present for members of her family. 

“I had no idea until I was a little bit older that there was this ghost really that was haunting, great grandmother, she would talk to ghosts, and she was seeing, you know, things from her past back in Mississippi.” 

During her presentation, Lane emphasized the importance of reading. 

“Human beings love stories,” she said. “They help us make sense of the world and understand how to be in the larger world.” 

Lane grew up reading, and it provided her a way to connect to the world. 

“I got addicted to the power of storytelling,” Lane said. “I was afraid I didn’t have my words. I knew I had words and thoughts inside of me, but I didn’t know how to bring them out. Reading was a way for me to feel that connection.” 

The Read-In Event has been going on for over 10 years. It aims to expose TCC students to new ways of thinking. Shewanda Riley, an English associate professor on NE campus has been involved in the program since the start. 

“What we’ve done every year, is we have exposed TCC students to a variety of literature by African American authors.” Riley said. “And just different things within the African American culture.” 

 The Read-in events urge students to acknowledge difficult topics and see things from different perspectives. NE English professor Stacy Stuwue has also been involved in the Read-In events. 

 “We are bridges, and how her great grandfather was named Bridges, and he was lynched,” Stuwue said. “Many people don’t know about that very difficult and painful history in our country. And I just think it’s very important that we continue to look at literature, even the difficult topics that are sometimes in literature.” 

Stewue said that it is important to bring in authors to the Read-In events. 

“Cassandra brought all of her experience as a professional author, and it’s so important,” Stewue said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to be able to talk with a professional author — a published author — and to be able to ask questions about her writing.”

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