From Rum to Roots: An American Dream in Black and Green By Lloyd Francis
In 1937 near Portland Cottage in southern Jamaica, on a huge sugar estate, Linton McMann, the illegitimate son of the owner of the plantation, works making rum. Meanwhile in Kingston, Daisy helps her mother manage an ice business and dreams of joining her elder sister in New York.
Seeking opportunity, Linton leaves the deep Jamaican countryside for New York and the collapse of the ice business and family crises force Daisy to leave Kingston, seeking a new start in the United States. They encounter a vibrant Jamaican-American community in New York, where they meet at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. They become American citizens, marry, and start a family. Ambition drives them to start a business and Linton capitalizes on a skill he learned as a young man in Jamaica, making a drink known in Jamaica as “Roots.” It proves wildly popular and the company, Family Roots, prospers beyond Linton’s and Daisy’s wildest dreams.
By 1986, the drink is a sensation. Money flows in, but something is missing. Happiness is as scarce as freshwater in the middle of the sea. Wrestling with their past while living in a land of plenty, Linton and Daisy discover that truth is the only avenue to happiness.
About the Author
Lloyd was born in Oakland in 1961, a first-generation American child to Jamaican parents. As a child his trips to Jamaica in the 60′s and 70′s shaped who he became. Growing up in Hayward California he was steeped in the island tradition of reggae, Jamaican cuisine, and patois.
After studying engineering, Lloyd became a staff photographer for theSan Jose Mercury News. He left newspapers to work for Yahoo Financial News Network and returned to journalism after 9-11. In 2001 Lloyd reported from Iraq for Newsweek Magazine, and went on to cover the war in Afghanistan. In 2004 he accepted a job with theArmy Times Publishing Company and worked in Iraq intermittently for two years. Examples of his work can be found here and here.
Lloyd returned to San Francisco in 2006. He lives with his wife, Leanne, his two sons, Marley and Waylon, a yellow nape Amazon parrot named Aquila and a rambunctious Red Lored Amazon parrot named Cosmo. He frequently takes long walks around San Francisco and Golden Gate Park, looking for great Instagram photographs.
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