Licenses for Collective Amnesia Graphics Obtained!

I sent my manuscript to the publisher, Xlibris, in early September. For the past four and a half months, I have gotten an education which my two previous books did not provide: getting permission to use graphics. This is not an easy process.

I started with 103 pictures, maps, tables and other graphics, leading one friend to ask if I had written a comic book! In fact, I am a disciple of Confucius — a picture is worth a thousand words. Because Collective Amnesia is counter-cultural, a pretty radical version of history (albeit unvarnished and true), I believe that graphics help make the case.

For example, it might seem impossible or irrational that a huge crowd of white Christians could burn a black man alive for the “crime” of being black, but seeing folks in the act of incinerating Willie Brown alive in Omaha, Nebraska on September 28, 1919 makes an irrefutable case. The fact is, a number of returning black servicemen were lynched just for wearing their uniform after World War I.

Turns out that it is not always a simple matter to determine who has “rights” to any particular graphic. Some folks I contacted were gracious and an honor to contact, for instance Rick Reeves of Tampa who kindly allowed me to use his painting of the 26th US Colored Infantry Regiment in the attack, gratis.


I had multiple email exchanges with authors who I profoundly admire and whose books helped me write mine. But I also paid a thousand dollars to license many of he other illustrations and maps! The book is now pared down to a total of 66 graphics.

Yesterday, that ordeal ended, and the company can now set about preparing a galley. I am relieved and excited, looking forward to holding the finished book in my hands!

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Gene Betit

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