Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters

Jill Marie Snyder

Dear Mary, Dear Luther is a rare collection  of African American love letters.  My parents wrote the letters from May  1937 to January 1941 when they married. Each saved the letters they received,  leaving behind a beautiful legacy of  love.

Luther was enjoying bachelorhood in Harlem and working as a hotel porter.  Always the pursuer, he was honest with Mary about where she stood.  Step by step, he proclaimed his feelings as he progressed from attraction to  love.  African American men are often portrayed as brutes, lacking  feelings and deep emotions.  Luther’s authentic expressions of romantic  love will be a revelation for many.

Mary-sassy, feisty, mercurial-was a very smart young lady.  Still living  at home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with her parents and siblings, she continued to date  others until Luther made it clear she was the only one.  She accepted his  evolving emotional state, never pushing for a greater commitment than he was  ready to make.  Gradually, their intimacy deepens until each knew they were ready to become man and wife.

With family history preceding the letters, and reflections on Mary and  Luther’s life after they marry, Dear Mary, Dear Luther is truly the saga  of a loving African American family, facing hardships with dignity and grace,  representing millions of other African American families. This book is perfect  for book clubs, church groups, and the whole family to read and discuss.

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