Set in rural Tennessee in the 1930s and inspired by actual events, Leaving Henry is the story of a courageous young African American girl who dreamed of a better life.
Born in primitive conditions, life in Henry wasn’t a piece of cake for Ella Ridley. Because of her light skin color, hazel eyes, and auburn hair, her sharecropper father often mistreated her.
By the age of ten, she was working in the cotton fields until her fingers bled. A bout of malaria, an attempted rape, and witnessing her father being terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan inspired her to hope for a day when she could escape. Little Ella knew at an early age that the South and everything it represented was certainly not for her.
Poor as a church mouse, every penny she earned went straight to helping her destitute family. Stuck in her perilous position, she refused to resign to her fate. Little Ella prayed every day for a way out, asking God for a miracle that never seemed to come. Sometimes, she wondered if God was even listening to her.
Then out of the blue, on her thirteenth birthday, her uncle from Indiana came for a visit and offered her something she never expected, not even in her wildest dreams.