*Bronze Award Winner for Memoir/Autobiography in the 2020 Kops-Fetherling International Book Award competition.*Once you meet Isaac Bladen, you'll never forget him. "The Eyes of Texans: From Slavery to the Texas Capitol" is a 2020 Kops-Fetherling International Book Award winner (Bronze Medal) by Melvin E. Edwards, an award-winning newspaper reporter/columnist, and a former legislative speechwriter for long-time Texas Lt. Governor and Governor Rick Perry. Edwards' thirty years of genealogy research confirmed family stories that had been told for decades, exposed some that weren't accurate, and discovered details that had long been buried. These "first-person" accounts will capture your attention and take you on a drive-by of the past 200 years of American and Texas history. Isaac Bladen was born into slavery on a farm just outside of Washington, D.C., in a town that is named after the family that enslaved him. He and his Virginia-born wife, Elvira, ended up in Texas in 1844 as enslaved farmers in Leon County, where they had a daughter, Louisa, who eventually married Amos Jones. Louisa and Amos became the parents of Walter Jones. Louisa was born 15 years before the Civil War and died four months after the end of World War II at the age of 99. Her son, Walter, and daughter-in-law, Anna Thorn, had a son they named Orlean Jones. Orlean and Alma Logan Jones became the parents of Ella Jones Edwards, the author's mother. The Logans and the Bladens lived in the same county at the same time as early as 1856, though it would take decades before they crossed family lines when Orlean and Alma married in 1923. For more than 100 years, beginning in 1844, their ancestors lived in Leon County, Texas, as farmers and cowboys, before moving to Houston for a "fresh start." Nearly two centuries after Isaac's birth in Bladensburg, Maryland, his great-great-great-grandson rose to a key role at the Texas State Capitol just two hours away from where Isaac was enslaved for most of his life in Leona. This is a story of Texas through the eyes of true Texans. From a slave in the 19th century to a governor's speechwriter by the end of the 20th century. It is a creative re-telling based on actual events and family stories. READER REVIEWS: -- This book is absolutely incredible. I felt transported into the past and could almost hear, see, and taste the book. Melvin Edwards is clearly a gifted writer, no author other than William Kowalski has piqued my imagination quite so well, and I hope he continues to write more books. -- I highly recommend this book. It's very well written and makes it easy to see how Mel Edwards became a speechwriter for the highest officials in Texas. I also appreciate the perspective it gives an old white guy, like me, on race relations. Another thing that comes through loud and clear is Mel's love for Texas. A great read -- The book is awesome Totally pulls you in. I felt like I was sitting right there on the porch eating sweet potato pie and listening live. Truly a great read and loved learning about Melvin's family and their strength and tenacity. Lots of emotions.