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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:African American & Black / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:306
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098376529

A Small Town in Dixie

by Jean Ellen Wilson

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It is 1950 in rural Dixie where blacks and whites live under the convoluted rules of a segregated society that everyone seems to accept as a way of keeping order. When three white boys invade Colored Town on a lark of harassment, one is accidently shot, setting off a series of racially tainted crimes. By 1968, the fragile accommodation of white attitudes about color is exposed and innocents of both races are sacrificed. All is forgiven does not fly.
Part 1 It is 1950 and the unwritten laws of Jim Crow govern the relationship between the equally divided racial population of a small Southern town. A foray into Black Town by three white boys bent on mischief results in a tragedy that sets off a series of racial encounters that change the lives of the people on both sides of the color line. Part II It is 1968 and against the chaotic national background of Civil Rights and assassination individuals react to the violence and racism in their own microcosm of the larger picture that is Fort Howard, Florida. The story of mean little injustices and the unpredictable consequences of small daily indignities is told in this book that is a small magnified mirror in the corner of the larger panoramic mirror of segregation.
About the author
Jean Ellen Wilson went to school in the South in the time of segregation. "I never had a thought about the school on the other side of town where the black kids were studying science and playing football just like we were," she admits. "But a bit later, I experienced an epiphany: after having a picnic lunch with a "colored girl" I worked alongside, she and I separated for a drink at a water fountain. She went to the one marked 'Colored' and I to the one marked 'Whites Only.' It was a life-altering moment for me." Although this biographical experience is used in this book, 95% of the happenings in the story are not part of my personal life nor did they happen in my hometown. Some stories I heard from other people from other places, some came entirely out of my imagination. Looking back, I am amazed that we all accepted so passively that color meant we could not eat, swim, learn, play, ride, or be buried next to each other.