Maggie Buckingham

   In 1912, Meridian resident Maggie Anderson Buckingham wrote "Drops of Gold" to, as noted in the book's preface, "Inspire one to noble and higher ideals."

    Although female writers were a rarity in the 19th Century, Buckingham's literary contribution was an even more remarkable accomplishment: She was a black woman.

    According to her granddaughter, Jacquelyn Buckingham Sweetner Caffey, the book was written by Buckingham when she lived at 3611 Seventh St. It was published locally – in both hard cover and paperback – by Tell Farmer Publishing Company.

    "Drops of Gold" was written by Buckingham out of a desire to do something to uplift her race.

    "' ... Its object is to cause someone to think, to make someone better, to spur the perplexed youth to act as Columbus to his own undiscovered possibilities; to urge him not to brood over the past, nor dream of the future, but to get lessons from the hour; to encourage him to make every occasion a great one for he cannot tell when fate may take his measure for a higher place; to show him that he must not wait for his opportunities, but make them,'" Buckingham wrote in the book's preface.

    And should her goal be accomplished, "' ... I shall feel greatly paid for my humble effort,'" the author stated.

    "Drops of Gold" features 35 items which, when viewed in its proper perspective, the value of wisdom contained in each subject is "as precious as a small "drop of gold," Caffey said. Subjects include: "Be Something and Do Something," "The Great Needs of the Negro Race," "The Habit of Gossiping," "What Will Solve the Race Problem," "The Ignorant Preacher – A Back-number" and "To Wives."

    In comments about the book, Herbert R. Metoyer Jr., senior editor and chairman of The Detroit Black Writer's Guild, wrote:

     "I was amazed to discover that the same concerns that plagued black society in the year 1912 are still prevalent today – that the advice given by this great woman is still just as valid today as it was then. If I had my way, I would make this book required reading for every man, woman and child – black or white, red or yellow."

    Caffey and her sister, the late Gwendolyn Buckingham Watley, republished "Drops of Gold" in 1995. While none of Buckingham's words were altered, the two sisters made a few additions, including a tribute to their grandmother, a brief history of The Buckinghams and photos from 1908-1950.

    "The photos dispel the accepted fact that all black people lived in poverty during these times," Caffey said.

    Buckingham's original words are also included in the centennial edition. Caffey added a photo of Buckingham's grandchildren, her 1898 marriage license, a photo of her son's newspaper, The Starkville Voice, published in 1939, and several updated family photos.

Want a copy?

    “Drops of Gold,” written in 1912 by Meridian resident Maggie Anderson Buckingham, is available through her granddaughter, Jacquelyn Buckingham Sweetner Caffey by calling 702-558-9894.

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