Sweet Hope A Novel by Mary Bucci Bush
Sweet Hope is a novel about two families, one Black and one Italian, living and working together under harsh and unusual conditions on a Mississippi Delta cotton plantation 1901-1906. As part of the “Italian Colony Experiment,” Italians were illegally imported to the south under false pretenses and held in a contract labor system designed to put and keep them in debt while the few remaining African American sharecroppers taught the Italians to work cotton, speak English, and survive.
Initially, knowing nothing of American racial divisions or the history of American slavery, the Italians regard the Black sharecroppers as privileged Americans. The African Americans do not know what to make of the Italians who are driven by one goal: to find a way out of their contracts and escape the hell they’ve found themselves in. A vicious manager/ overseer, an absentee plantation owner, a rape, an interracial “Romeo and Juliet” love affair, a murder, and hints of a federal investigation complicate the characters’ lives. Read Sample Chapter