Citizens Creek

  • by Lalita Tademy
  • Narrated by Bahni Turpin, J. D. Jackson
  • 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River brings us the evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage.
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his 10th birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money - but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward?
Cow Tom's legacy lives on - especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose. She rises to leadership of the family as they struggle against political and societal hostility intent on keeping blacks and Indians oppressed. But through it all, her grandfather's indelible mark of courage inspires her - in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.
Written in two parts portraying the parallel lives of Cow Tom and Rose, Citizens Creek is a beautifully rendered novel that takes the listener deep into a little known chapter of American history. It is a breathtaking tale of identity, community, family - and above all, the power of an individual's will to make a difference.

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What the Critics Say

"JD Jackson, telling Tom's story, and Bahni Turpin, relating Rose's, both deliver exquisite performances that immerse the listener in the characters. Jackson's careful diction adds emotional power to his portrayal of Cow Tom. Turpin paces Rose's story in a way that highlights the struggles and triumphs of an amazing, resilient family." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Who Knew Native Americans Owned Slaves?

If you could sum up Citizens Creek in three words, what would they be?

Important Captivating Eye-opening


What other book might you compare Citizens Creek to and why?

I have read all three of Latilda Tademy's novels and recommend each highly. They are a unique offering in the sense that the author researched her family and the characters are based on real people who survived and thrived through slavery and Jim Crow America.

So, no comparison comes to mind.


What about Bahni Turpin and J. D. Jackson ’s performance did you like?

Both did an excellent job of portraying Cow Tom and his granddaughter.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Found it difficult to stop listening. The histories are too long for one sitting. Too much to digest -- too much territory covered.


Any additional comments?

Citizens Creek is Tademy's third novel. She spends up to three years researching the period, her subjects, their dialect, customs. The characters of Citizens Creek are real people who lived during slavery and in the period leading up to the Civil War, Emancipation, and the early 1900s. The novel begins with Cow Tom, born a slave in 1810, owned previously by a Southern Plantation owner, and then the Creek nation, separated from his mother at a young age. He ultimately "bought" his freedom and emerged as the first Black Chief of the Creek Nation due to his considerable leadership skills and linguistic gifts. His mother advised he was special and would do great things; he in turned said as much to his granddaughter Rose. They were both propelled to live up to their legacies.

I found this a beautifully told, fascinating story. I was introduced to an episode of American History I knew little about -- that Indian tribes owned slaves, the horror of the treatment of the Indians at the hand of the US military and government, the very tough lives they and their slaves endured.

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- Denyse

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.

Very interesting unknown history of our country.
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- John "'Straight from the Horsches Mouth'"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-04-2014
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio