Former Newcomerstown resident Otis Trotter has released his first book regarding his life and times in Newcomerstown.

He moved from southern West Virginia with his mother and nine of his 13 siblings in 1961. Some of the siblings attended the Newcomerstown Public Schools until 1973, when they suddenly relocated to Massillon.

"I have written a memoir about my family and me," Trotter said about his book, "Keeping Heart: A Memoir of Family Struggle, Race and Medicine."

About the book

Organized around the life histories, medical struggles and recollection of Trotter and his 13 siblings, the story begins in 1914 with his parents, Joe William Trotter Sr. and Thelma Odell Foster Trotter, in rural Alabama.

By telling his story alongside the experiences of his parents as well as his siblings, Otis reveals cohesion and tensions in 20th century African American family and community life in Alabama, West Virginia and Ohio.

This engaging chronicle illuminates the journeys not only of a black man born with heart disease in the southern Appalachian coalfields, but of his family and community. It fills an important gap in the literature on an underexamined aspect of American experience: the lives of blacks in rural emotional power is a testament to the important of ordinary lives.

Trotter currently lives in North Canton and is a certified independent provider for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

To order "Keeping Heart: A Memoir of Family Struggle, Race and Medicine," visit