Thursday, August 6, 2015

Crow

Wright, Barbara.  Crow.  NY: Dell Yearling, c2012.  291 pages.  

From the publisher: "The summer of 1898 is filled with ups and downs for 11-year-old Moses. He's growing apart from his best friend, his superstitious Boo-Nanny butts heads constantly with his pragmatic, educated father, and his mother is reeling from the discovery of a family secret. Yet there are good times, too. He's teaching his grandmother how to read. For the first time she's sharing stories about her life as a slave. And his father and his friends are finally getting the respect and positions of power they've earned in the Wilmington, North Carolina, community. But not everyone is happy with the political changes at play and some will do anything, including a violent plot against the government, to maintain the status quo.  One generation away from slavery, a thriving African American community—enfranchised and emancipated—suddenly and violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina when a group of local politicians stages the only successful coup d'etat in US history."

This was one of several books I read this year about the problems of discrimination in the US.  I can't say that I like reading about the darker side of white treatment of blacks, but I recognize that it is important for me to confront the shame that I feel over what happened in the past and is still a struggle today.  It is important to understand and do my best to make sure it is not repeated, at least by myself.  This book looks at a specific incident called the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 where at least 14 blacks were killed, led by over 500 whites. All the forward strides made by the thriving black community were destroyed and fear took it's place.

This book is on the Iowa Teen Award reading list for 2015-2016.  It is recommended for junior high and above.  Review by Mrs. Belknap

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