Emma Jean Reborn
Emma Jean Reborn
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Emma Jean Cooper, nicknamed “Emma Jean Two” by her father, was born in 1966, in the small town of Crooked River, Arkansas, where poverty and prejudice were rampant. Emma Jean grew up with plenty of both, to the extent that her father was active in the Ku Klux Klan and exposed his daughter at an early age to the group’s clandestine activities. Her mother, who had been raised in a dysfunctional, abusive situation, was unable to cope with the death of her first daughter, also named Emma Jean, and so transferred that daughter’s identity to Emma Jean Two, claiming she was the reincarnation of her dead sister. Emma Jean’s childhood was so traumatic and she experienced such extreme parental abuse and rejection that she spent much of her time daydreaming of a better life somewhere—anywhere—away from her family.

            Ironically it is an African-American classmate named Sadie Garret, a preacher’s daughter, who finally gives eighteen-year-old Emma Jean Cooper, daughter of an active Ku Klux Klan member, the courage she needs to escape her racist, abusive environment. Literally running for her life, Emma Jean hitchhikes to California in search of something better than the destructive existence she has so far endured. The experiences of the next few years are beyond anything Emma Jean could ever have imagined, and ultimately serve only to turn her back toward home to confront the evil she thought she had escaped.

Back in Crooked River, Emma Jean takes refuge with her former classmate Sadie and, eventually, in an African-American church, where she begins to learn the secret to overcoming her past and establishing her own identity for a positive future.

Though loosely based on a compilation of true accounts, Emma Jean Reborn is purely a work of fiction.


            “I’m sorry to bother you,” Sadie was saying, as she stood in the middle of the tiny living room, twisting a wrinkled handkerchief in both hands. She was dressed in a drab, sleeveless dress and worn sandals. Her coffee-colored skin glistened with perspiration and her dark hair was tied in a knot on top of her head, though a few unruly pieces poked their way out, giving her the appearance of someone who’d just put in a long, hard day of physical labor. Perhaps she had, Emma Jean thought, even as she wondered what Sadie would say next.

“I tried not to come,” Sadie said, “but…God just wouldn’t leave me alone.”

            Emma Jean frowned. What was the girl talking about? What did God have to do with anything?

            “I been prayin’ for you,” Sadie said. “Ever since we sat beside each other in school when we were kids.” She hesitated, and Emma Jean thought she saw a hint of fear in her eyes, but it evaporated quickly as Sadie continued to speak. “And now that I’m gettin’ ready to head off to college, I guess God wanted me to talk to you before it was too late.”

            College? Sadie was leaving Crooked River to go to college? Emma Jean found herself fighting tears, but still she said nothing, too amazed by the strange visit to do anything but listen.

            “He…God wants you to know that he loves you,” Sadie said. “And that he has a plan for you. If…if you’ll let him, he’ll help you.”

            Emma Jean finally found her voice. “Help me do what?” she whispered, frightened more by the answer than by being caught with a black woman in her home.


Dr. Cupid R. Poe is a minister and psychiatrist, who formerly served as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College and as an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee. He practices in the area of adult and geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Poe is the host of two radio programs titled “Forgiveness Today” and is a founder and Vice President of “Forgiveness Anonymous International Ministries”. He is currently involved in establishing the Institute for the Study of Forgiveness and Health, to be located in Nashville. For many years he has been active in homeless and prison ministries.

Dr. Poe has lectured extensively in several prestigious venues. He is a frequent guest on radio and television and is the author of a chapter on suicide in the recently published book, “Counseling in Afro-American Communities”. He is also the author of books including, “King Saul’s Paranoia” and “Clinical Depression from a Christian Perspective” and is co-author of “Christian Reconciliation Counseling”. He is author of an article entitled, “The Place of Worship in Counseling”, which was published in the International magazine, “Christian Counseling Today”. Dr. Poe was the subject of an article titled “The Spiritual Side of Depression”, published by “HomeLife” magazine in February of 2002. Dr. Poe and his wife Diane have two children and three grandchildren and make their home in Nashville, Tennessee.




Kathi Macias is an award winning writer who has authored sixteen books. She has also edited, rewritten, or ghostwritten more than 100 others, and has published numerous articles, short stories, and poems in various periodicals. She is a staff member for a major manuscript critique service and recently won the grand prize in an international writing contest.

            A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught both creative and business writing in various venues. She is a popular speaker at women’s clubs and retreats, schools and churches, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.

A mother and grandmother, Kathi lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.



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