A Princess Found: An American Family, An African Chiefdom, And the Daughter Who Connected Them All
The new book, “A Princess Found…,” just released in July by Sarah Culberson, is about Culberson’s journey to find her roots. The twenty-something writer/dancer/actress/singer is a biracial woman, who was given up for adoption when she was a year old by her white mother and African father. She was adopted by a white family, who raised her along with their bio children in a small town in West Virginia. While Culberson’s adoptive family loved her dearly and never treated her differently, she still felt a huge void by growing up in a mostly white town and attending mostly white schools. Some of that subsided when she went off to college in diverse San Francisco, but she still yearned to learn about her bio parents. Although she received tragic news about her mom, through a private investigator she was able to find her father – a chief, which would make her a princess – living in Bumpe, Sierra Leone. But being a chief and princess in Sierra Leone was relative and she soon discovered that her visit in mid-2000 was not just about her bio dad, but also about connecting with people from a nation trying to recover from a brutal war in the mid-90s.
While the book starts out slowly in the beginning by weaving in the terror of the war-torn nation with her comfortable life in West Virgina, by the middle of it I became immersed in her journey. She conveyed her feelings of meeting her father, his family and the people of Bumpe in great detail. When she describes the celebrations, the dancing, the food, the weather – I felt it! And, when she describes the people, even children, affected by the war (arms and other body parts hacked off, hunger, joblessness, no shelter, etc.) – that impacted me as well!
In fact, I specifically wanted to read the book to get to the parts about her visit to Africa. My husband is Nigerian and I visited the West African nation twice – first while it was still under military rule and secondly when it was autonomous. While my trek mimicked Culberson’s in the small town in terms of the food, greetings, music and dancing, I did not meet people torn apart by war. However, I did meet the starving, and others who did not know what life had in store for them. I ached that I could not adopt, especially the little hungry babies, who gazed at me with their big brown eyes. One day I’ll put in a book.
But back to “A Princess Found…” – please read it and discover Sarah Culberson, who definitely finds her roots and much more. Meanwhile, she has started a foundation to assist with the educational needs of the children in Bumpe. Check it out at bumpefund.org.