My friend Sarah (at Brainfluff )blogs on Wednesdays books she can hardly wait to read. Let me tell you about one I hope to start this weekend, which is a wake up call for readers in the South here in the U.S.A. It is In the Shadow of Statues by Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans. Going in, I do not know where I stand on the removing of statues of Confederate heroes. I fully understand why these men were revered because I grew up in Virginia, “The Mother of Presidents” (The first five presidents of the U.S. were from Virginia.) and never heard The War between the States called The Civil War until I was marred and in college in Texas. Actually, as an elementary student, we had a principal who referred to “the war” as “The War for the Glorious Confederacy.” I didn’t even know “we” lost until eighth grade!
On the other hand, when I had an African American friend (There were only two in a graduation class of 440. Integration was a forced thing and came late to my home city.) , and she lent me her copy of A Raisin in the Sun, I began to understand “what all the fuss was about.” After I had moved to Houston, Texas, when I married, I experienced ethnic diversity for the first time. At church where I volunteered with teenagers, I enjoyed working with youths of many ethnic backgrounds, and when I began teaching in 1967, I no longer noticed what “color” a student was. A student is a student is a student.
As the idea of removing the offensive statues began a few years ago, I began to understand and side with friends who found them just that–offensive (to put it mildly; one friend calls it an “abomination.”) My curiosity and empathy have kicked in recently when this book was selected for our next book club read. Mt Better Half and I took it home from the library last Tuesday, and he has already read it. He was born in North Carolina, raised in Virginia and went to college in Mississippi, mind you. I asked him what he thought of the book and his response was, “It makes you think.” I am looking forward to allowing the book to make me do the same and hope to start it this weekend.
Thanks, Sarah for allowing me to steal your idea and post it today.
HAPPY READING, ALL!