The stories from this book are designed for people to discover the hidden gems in neighborhoods like Hickstown. The Booths write how outsiders devalued this neighborhood and many never felt anything good could come out of Hickstown. Despite how outsiders viewed the neighborhood, Hickstown from the Heart describes people that triumphed despite adversity. Their stories go beyond being poor. Their stories go beyond crime. They go beyond working at jobs that pay low wages. They describe the neighborhood’s commitment to faith, family and education. It is a book of many lessons learned from their parents, neighbors and church. 


Enlightening and Meaningful

March 21, 2024

Having lived in Durham as a teenager for several years during the 1980’s, I found the Booth family’s memoir about life in this central North Carolina city fascinating. Prior to reading Hickstown, I knew nothing about this former integral and thriving part of the Durham community, even though our families lived no more than ten minutes apart from each other—a fact that truly saddened me. I found the stories about the perseverance and influence of Mama “Mildred” and Dad “William” Booth on their children, their neighborhood, and the city of Durham funny, relatable, and touching. I especially loved reading about the wide-reaching contributions of Mildred Booth on community sustainability, voting rights, and city politics and how William regularly brought a whole truckload of neighborhood children with him when he picked up Mildred from work at Duke Hospital, confusing coworkers who thought she had an extremely large family. As well, I discovered something about US history that I wasn’t taught—desegregation, while moving toward racial equality, also negatively impacted black communities, schools, and teachers and administrators who were transferred (and mostly demoted) to area white schools.

Reading the Booth family memories, perceptions, and records of their family during that time was enlightening and meaningful—and I’m sure serves as a significant and lasting artifact of Hickstown and a meaningful contribution to the overall history of Durham, North Carolina.

Julie George

Great Stories That Touch the Heart

October 20, 2023

Reading this book gave me a glimpse into a loving family and a strong community, but it was also like a mini-history lesson of Durham. I learned so much. The stories caused me to yearn for a return to the rich values exhibited in the Booth family and in their neighbors—selfless care, sacrifice, joy amidst struggle, resilience, and tenacious advocacy. It’s a book that tells the truth about hardship, but focuses more on the beautiful people who endured it, fought through it, and overcame it in a variety of ways.

Lakeisha B.

What Does A Praying Family Look Like

September 28, 2023

Hicks Town From The Heart is a must read. I love the way these memoirs remind me of how powerful faith, family and love can be. It even shows how prayer has the ability to not only shape us in the “here and now “, but also into the future. I still pick it up and read it for inspiration. Be sure to order a copy today. It will also make a wonderful gift for your family and friends as well.

Johnny Wade

Amazing read

May 27, 2023

Well, I started to read this book thinking I’ll finish it some time during the week. I couldn’t put it down. It’s captivating, exciting and it gave me a great insight in what it was like, growing up in a black family in North Carolina. Ma Booth was fearless and hard working lady, embracing her newly given civil rights and motivating others to vote and participate in democratic process. I’ve had a pleasure and honor to have met and befriended her son, with whom I’ve been friends since 1988. For me, being raised and growing up behind the iron curtain, her fight for voting rights was very understanding. Only deprived ones can value democracy in it’s full glory. Because, and I will use Ma Booths words, you don’t value the water, until your well runs dry. I felt like I was there, reliving the life I never lived, but knew so much about it. Took me one day to finish the read, that I know will be with me for a long time.

Vladimir Altarac

This book transports you back in time, and the collection of essays has something for everyone!

May 15, 2023

This book is generous in spirt with a wide range of human emotion and experiences honestly portrayed through childhood memory and observations. The book is a reflection of how community got along, self-governed and the importance building blocks and steppingstones. The stories would bring readers of similar rural childhoods down memory lane, and it allows the rest of us to voyage into a time of simplicity, wisdom and the slow-simmer of changing tides.

I enjoyed that some of the chapters were to-the-point, while others were filled with mystique or allowed an out-loud laugh to escape. What is also poignant is that the recollection of childhood and family memories has a layer of adult sensibility and new understanding of the people and events reflected upon.

In today’s world of automated everything, it isa treasure to have a captured another way of living and relating with the most human touch. “Hickstown from the Heart” is a family collection of essays, that allows the reader to reflect on our own, yet savor the wisdom and journey of this family memoir.

Dr. Kelley Page Jibrell

Awesome and Exciting!

March 14, 2023

I really enjoyed reading Hickstown From The Heart! It is so interesting, I found it hard to put down… I smiled and chuckled throughout!

Sharon Sullivan

A Rare Family memoir of an exceptional famiy.

December 26, 2022

I have not enjoyed a book in a long time that kept me riveted to read the next chapter. The parents were exceptional people raising a family under difficult circumstances. The parents never had a victim mentally though many would have succumbed under different circumstances. The reward is a family of exceptional children, grandchildren with a heritage they can be so proud of. I think this would make a great movie about preserving under difficult situations and because of faith, hard work and reaching out to others with what they had. If everyone could glean from this book life lessons, all families would be blessed and better for it. I recommend it for anyone who wants to read a true life inspirational story that has lessons for all of us to emulate.

Winslow Carter


December 3, 2022

Such a wonderful book with great stories. It kept me captivated the whole time, I didn’t want to put the book down!



October 29, 2022

This book is so captivating. Once I started reading, I found it difficult for me to put it down. I was always looking forward to reading more. Each story created a visual in my mind as if I were actually living alongside the Booth family in Hickstown.

Sherry Young Davis


October 14, 2022

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir with it’s deep family and cultural history. This book takes you on a journey of Love, Pride and Family. While looking back at times in the south then and more importantly, looking forward so that future generations can learn from its vast lessons.

Laterra McWilliams

Enthralling and Heartwarming

September 28, 2022

I found the stories in this book written by the siblings of a close knit family simply captivating. Among other things, the entries are brimming with love for each other and good, wholesome living. While the family bond is strong, there is a prominent theme of service to others throughout the book. This is modeled by two extraordinary parents who instilled it in each son and daughter. Definitely a must read and so very pertinent even in today’s world.

Dara Heller

A Great Family Reflection

September 22, 2022

What an amazing tribute to the Booth family legacy! Over the years I’ve been told stories of the Matriarch of this family, Ma Booth and her prominence in the community by her oldest daughter. Her 6 children bring these stories and so much more to life in this book! Love of Family and Community permeates throughout each chapter! Definitely a re-read!

Cheryl Honore

Smashing good read!

September 12, 2022

HicksTown From the Heart is aptly named! Each chapter is heartfelt so that you feel the love in the family. The reader is allowed to share the life and love of a truly close knit family. But the story of HicksTown goes even farther – it tells the story of a community who worked as if they were family!

Much in the book reminded me of my own growing up. Mom’s annual spring cleaning, having the responsibility to look out for and care for my siblings, sharing with neighbors.

The real joy of the book was being reminded of that time when we lived in community. You didn’t have to like your neighbors but you still made sure they had food and made sure their children were safe. Hickstown reminds us of that time gone by that we need to recapture!

Many thanks to the Family for the wonderful reminder of the joy of community and Family! I strongly urge everyone to READ THIS BOOK!

Rev. Dorothy Clark

A Great Experience

September 8, 2022

It was a great experience for me while reading the book. Each author’s presentation was authentic and moving such that I was drawn into the scenes they so beautifully described. I’m so glad that Hickstown community existed and impacted them in the rich way that it did. Very good and pleasurable reading!


Lots of Love and Laughter

August 24, 2022

This is a heart-felt funny book about a community in North Carolina. The authors of this book have always been emphatic and compassionate towards others. Having read the book, I understand their willingness to assist, make sacrifices, and love others. Communities that are perceived in a negative way often provide support and community for each other. This book is a must read for anyone.


A Heartwarming Look Back

August 17, 2022

Hickstown from the Heart is a warm memoir from a simpler, and yet more challenging time for people of color, as told by members of the admirable Booth family. Although they weren’t wealthy in material things, they had an abundance of riches in true values; love, commitment to their community, humor, and compassion. I see these values, a legacy of Ma Booth, in my friend and neighbor, Antoinette Joyner, as she goes about making the lives of others better each day. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

Edith Harris

Incredibly well-written!

August 13, 2022

This work is so well done. It was an honor to read and be transported back in time, seeing the value of a family knit together through any and all circumstances. It feels as if this only scratches the surface, but is a great time capsule that can inform a new generation of so many treasured and timeless values communicated in a very honorable way. Pure Respect.

Michael Britt

Heartfelt and Inspiring

August 11, 2022

This is a heartfelt and inspiring memoir of life in a community that I can relate to, because I have known some of the people in this book.

This is a book to purchased and to be read by many.

Willie Reese

My Review Of This Book!

August 9, 2022

This Book is a testament to what can be accomplish with family values and commitment. I lived in this community and have known the Booth Family for years. I have witness their dedication to our community. I worked at Duke Medical Center with their mother for many years, she was greatly respected, by doctor’;s, nurses and patient’s. She was fondly called Ma Booth. Her devotion to her family, the community and anyone in need, will never be forgotten. Her exemplary life will live on in her children and others as well.

Mrs. M. V. Gattis

Highly Recommended!

August 5, 2022

I could not put this book down, purchased and read cover to cover in the same night. It is an inspirational story of hard work, perseverance, love, community, faith, and family. This book captures the strength and love of family which significantly contributed to the strength of an entire community. It’s a must read for all displaying the both the tough and gentle love that is needed today.

Joseph T.

Well-written and Insightful

August 2, 2022

The Booth siblings wrote an excellent and insightful book on their family life growing up in Hickstown. I encountered so many reflections while reading it. I loved the way the book started and ended (from the Introduction/Preface/Epilogue). Outstanding work from all of you. I felt the family love, pride and dedication to the community.

Gloria A.


August 1, 2022

This is a wonderful compilation of Black family members describing life within their community. It represents the cumulative impact, power and resilience of one family to effect change; living in the South with its challenges, while facing imminent domain of property lines. Lines that set physical bounds of their community without decimating the social, emotional, or spiritual fiber that defined, defended and knit Hickstown. Though the Booths were not an economically wealthy family, they abounded in dreams, generous caring, sharing resources and values which resonated with other families and individuals on many issues.

W.K. Wilkins

Couldn't put it down!

August 1, 2022

This is a great book full of love, lessons, and inspiration. The authors/siblings take you on a journey, making it feel as if you’re right along in the story with them. This is a great read on family, faith, and perseverance. It’s a book that I’m definitely looking forward to enjoying again.

Kristy Holloway

The overarching love of God and love shown by and in a family!

August 1, 2022

I have had the privilege of meeting all of the Booth siblings. Having read this wonderful book, I can see how the wonderful tapestry of love, commitment, forgiveness, and justice all were forged into this family there in Hickstown. Please read this book!

Rob Christenson Hillsborough N.H.

This is worthy reading.

July 30, 2022

This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read! It is a series of essays written by six brothers and sisters. It will take you back to your own childhood. It is Ephesians 6:1 personified: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This book is a legacy that families can be families and not all broken up.

Pearline Tindall, Savannah, Ga.


July 30, 2022

This is a sweet and loving collection of heartwarming Booth family memories growing up in Hickstown. The siblings do a great job of making the reader feel like they are actually getting to visit Hickstown themselves. They introduce you to a colorful array of neighbors who range from the quiet and caring to the bold and eccentric! You learn of the important and historic racial challenges fought by this humble but strong community. An inspirational read!

Val Blanding Clark

Moving and Refreshing!

July 29, 2022

This book involves a story about a family influence and experience in a neighborhood. In particular. A black family tradition that shows strong character of core values that were recognized and flowed across racial barriers during a time when the ugliness of prejudice and discrimination were at their highest. The impact of the matriarch of the Booth family and the impression shared by the siblings were shared and recognized by other communities, including the multi-racial audience at the book signing, many who were discussed in the book. Their presence is great testimony to the authenticity of the stories shared in the book. I was greatly moved by this book about regular people in a Durham neighborhood, from a different part of the city where I grew up but which showed there was true character and concern, and good routes that crossed racial barriers even during this time in our history from all walks of life. So glad they shared these experiences! More stories like this need to be shared!

Herman Graham Jr


July 27, 2022

This is an awesome book. The siblings did a fantastic job of capturing the memories. It makes you feel as if you are in the stories.

This book is about history, it’s about laughter and filled with values. This is a family legacy for generation to come.

W. Carolina

A Must Read

July 24, 2022


Barbara lassiter


July 22, 2022

As I read this memoir. It drew me in with each account of the Booth family that embraced the Community with wisdom, love and discipline. Ma Booth never forgot from whence she came and ” fought the good fight” for all.

Each sibling took nuggets from their parents legacy and implemented them into their individual lives. It is to bad that communities do not exist in great numbers like this today.

A great book to read… much thanks for sharing the memories.

James A Williams

Wonderfully insightful

July 22, 2022

A wonderful, serious and sometimes humorous, first-hand look at a loving, close-knit Durham family from the perspective of the children. Not only do you get an inspiring look at the family, you also learn about their modest neighborhood and its residents, their mother’s community activism, and 1960’s segregated Durham. Definitely a must-read.

Willette Carter


July 20, 2022

HicksTown from the Heart: A Family Memoir is a necessary read! The stories will remind you of the importance of family unity and social responsibility. I appreciate the individual essays from the siblings and their unique perspective on growing up in Hickstown. I enjoyed every chapter! “Here Comes Joe Bass” is my favorite chapter because he also lived in my neighborhood!

Thank you for writing this book!

Sheena Brooks


July 20, 2022

This book is a close depiction of many events, both struggles and triumphs, my family faced in the rural South! We did not have wealth, but we had the love and protection of family and close neighborhood relationships. Truly brought back many memories of my own life! This book must be placed in a book club somewhere!

Beverly S.


July 17, 2022

I have read halfway through intending on reading again. I can not put it down. Such a wonderful family and well written. Our libraries should have copies…. I grew up in the same area remembering it well. Touched my heart.

Ann Black Addison

A Must Read

July 17, 2022

My mom who is a book reader couldn’t sleep got up in the middle of the night. She only was going to read a little from your book. She said she couldn’t put it down and read 50 pages!!! She loves it. We have to find a way to give in to

Oprah or Reese Witherspoon both have book clubs.

Kathy Zappolo

Delightful and inspiring

July 16, 2022

The book could be a reflection of many black families in the south. Not necessarily having a lot in material wealth was made up in the wealth of love and family.

Esperance S.


July 15, 2022

This book speaks of the dignity, confidence and power of the Black community. Living in a time when the system was designed to destroy self-esteem, Hickstown created its own self pride and accomplishments. The book provides a great reading of strength to overcome any form of oppression or opposition.

Alonza Montgomery

A Must Read

July 14, 2022

Wonderful experience



“These deeply moving stories tell of a remarkable family at the center of a close-knit African-American neighborhood. The love in these stories is palpable. But there is struggle, too, and grief and loss, even as the neighborhood emerges victorious in a titanic political battle to stop the highway that would destroy it. I have known and admired the Booth family for more than forty years. I sat at the knee of Mildred Booth and absorbed her wisdom. This is their story, but there are life lessons here for all of us.”



Profits from the book sales will be used to support a Crest Street Community initiative.



Thank you to everyone who attended our book launch at Bennett Pointe Grill! We are grateful for the amount of support we’ve received! If you’ve missed the event, check out the video and images.


Presentation at self help credit untion

July 5th, 2023

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