Molly Walling is a writer and educator. She is the author of Death in the Delta: Uncovering a Mississippi Family Secret, named a Willie Morris book in memoir and biography. She has taught writing at Mars Hill University, University of North Carolina Asheville, and for the Great Smokies Writing Program. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Title by Molly Walling
And then what happened? For Simon: A Journey into Truth and Reconciliation follows an African American family, that of Simon Toombs, introduced to readers in Molly Walling’s 2012 memoir, Death in the Delta. There she exposed a long-held family secret that Toombs died at the hands of her father and uncles. At that time, she thought her quest for knowledge and understanding had come to an end.
Six months later Walling was contacted by Toombs’s great-great-grandson, Gregory Woods, who was preparing to launch his career as a reporter for the ABC affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina. Woods revealed to her that Toombs had a daughter, Virginia, living in L.A. Not only that but her husband had been raised by the cook on the plantation where Walling’s father grew up.
Walling followed Woods’s reportage of such horrific racially violent events as the death of Walter Scott and the massacre at the A.M.E Church in Charleston. She developed a deep connection to Toombs’s descendants.
This multigenerational story does not end in defeat, but rather speaks to the strength, resilience and deep faith that contributes to survival in African American families.