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Back from the South

A Couple’s Transitions from Segregation to Integration

In Back from the South, author Dr. Teressa V. Staten offers an autobiographical picture of how events of the segregated South defined her character and that of her late husband, John. This African-American couple was married forty-one years until a tragic accident ended John’s life.

This memoir chronicles how Teressa and John overcame blatant racism to achieve numerous accomplishments. It shares the couple’s personal struggles with depression and the unexpected, heartbreaking suicide of their son. Back from the South explores the positive and negative consequences of being the first to integrate many situations in a rapidly evolving culture resistant to change. Staten describes how their character, education, and sheer determination led them to leave their hometowns in the South, move to the north, and work through institutional odds to become middle-class Americans, often being the first blacks to work and live in all-white workplaces and communities. Events in the book concludes five months after the couple moves back to the south when a tragic accident ended John’s life.

Covering a span of a half century, Back from the South provides insight into one couple’s pilgrimage during the height of the civil rights movement.




Book Reviews

Another beautiful story that exemplifies the strength, beauty, and courage of the African American family in America. Teressa, John, and their two boys lived it all. Teressa’s courage, love, and beauty are a story that gives us all strength to go on. She leaves us blessed.

– Eva L. Evans, Ph.D. Retired Deputy Superintendent, Lansing Public School District;
Past International President, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


This book provides an interesting account of how as African American couple struggled through segregation and into early integration. Having been “the first Blacks’ to intergrate jobs, public facilities, and housing, just before and just after the passing of the Civil Rights Act 0f 1964, is compelling and inspirational.

– Andrew Jackson Young, Author, American Politician, Diplomat, and Activist