Set in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, The Cayton Legacy chronicles the evolution of a remarkable African American family. From the Civil War to the present, generations of the Horace and Susie Cayton family helped illuminate the black and white experience and the troubled course of race relations in the United States.
The Caytons sought to define themselves in relation to their family traditions and to society as a whole. In the process, the distinguished family attained financial success and influence, both regionally and nationally. Family members published newspapers, wrote books, and were elected to public office. They worked for civil and human rights and established important relations with prominent black and white community leaders in America.
Family members also faced racial discrimination, business failures, and even poverty. They fought personal battles against alcoholism, depression, and drug addiction. Despite these obstacles, the power of the family legacy—of being “a Cayton”—spurred them on to significant contributions and high achievements.
The Caytons speak with deep insight about society, helping to sharpen our understanding of the past and enhancing our sense of individual and collective identity today.
Author Richard S. Hobbs (’69 Hist., ’71 M.A. Hist.), a historian, archivist, and researcher, is a Whidbey Island resident.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel, who interviewed one of the Caytons on his radio show in 1968, has high praise for the book. “This is an extraordinary memoir of a remarkable African American family in whose lives is the saga of a race’s hopes, dreams, and triumphs. It is a hymn to grace under pressure.”