Monday, December 1, 2014

Moving on from Ferguson

Hey, Everyone, don't lose this opportunity! We need to change our focus! We have the country - and the government's - attention so let's address the real problem - the racial disparity in our country.
You kow how we are, we'll lose interest in the Feguson incident, but we can't lose interest in the fact that we need to address the on-going problems of institutional racism.
We can start talking about - really get in dialogue about - things like resegregation of schools in cities, poverty, discrepencies in income between blacks and whites, why there are statistics about how many more times blacks are arrested and incarcerated than whites, etc.
The important thing is that we need to be working TOGETHER, blacks and whites. We each have such misunderstandings, predetermined views, biases and, yes, prejudices. We EACH have those. It is only by working together that we can learn from each other. It's a win-win situation.
Ferguson created a situation that torre the scab off the festering wound in our country. But, the reality is that Ferguson will soon fade in our memories. It will become to blacks a memory of one more incident of white injustice, and to the whites of just one more incident of blacks protesting and looting. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!
We need to change things. We CAN change things, but only if we work together and face the situation realistically.
I'm ready. Are you? Look into your community. See what is happening and find ways to make it better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Important Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy on Goodreads of the travel memoir, Voice of a Voyage, by Doann Houghton-Alico. If you read only one book this year, it should be Voice of a Voyage. It's the story of a 10 year circumnavigation that the author and her husband did in their 63' sailboat - 41 countries and 43,000 nautical miles. The writing is beautiful, the stories are amazing and informative. Don't miss this beautiful book!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Race relations Discussion

Those who shared their stories as background for "March With Me" met together for dinner & conversation on racial issues today. Wonderful dialogue - why don't YOU gather such a group?

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Civil Rights Movement gets attention!

MARCH WITH ME - set during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in Birmingham, AL (called "the most racist place in the US" at that time)has been selected as a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year in Historical Fiction. Check it out - and give the author, Rosalie Turner, some feedback.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Racism - great question from teen

Just spent a week in north east Texas speaking about the Civil Rights Movement for Black History Month in elementary, middle and high schools as well as university classes at Texas A & M - Commerce. I always leave time for Q & A because the kids have some great questions.
Here's my favorite question of the week from a middle-school boy:
What would you do if you could stop racism?
How would some of YOU answer that????Let's hear from you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why was the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, AL - complete with Bull Conner's turning the hoses and dogs on children - inevitable?

Going to Jackson! Please join me at either my book signing for MARCH WITH ME at Pentimento Books in Clinton, MS on Mon., Jan 20th from 3 - 6 p.m. or at the History Is Lunch Lecture Series at the William Winter Archives and History Bldg, Jackson, MS on Wed., Jan 22nd at noon, and I'll be speaking on the inevitability of the Children's March in May, 1963. We should be having some great discussion.

Monday, January 6, 2014

African-American Literary Book Club posted this review of MARCH WITH ME.

I really appreciated this view by!
In an era of racial strife, rollbacks on affirmative action and voting rights legislation, and a general hardening of the arteries of our nation’s moral conscience, it’s a welcome sight to read something that stresses tolerance, reconciliation, and healing. Rosalie Turner’s novel, March With Me, chronicles the controversial Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama in May, 1963, led by those fearless leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and Rev. James Bevel. At the time, Birmingham was one of the hot spots in the segregated South, with a slew of beatings, killings, bombings, and other hate mayhem.

Remarkably, Turner, a writer of nearly 30 years, conjures up the social, cultural, and political divide that defined the southern steel city a half century ago. She uses the narrative concept of viewing that turbulent time through the eyes of two girls, one black and one white, both affected by the rigid, restrictive cage of Jim Crow and racial prejudice.

Letitia, a “colored” girl, is fired up by the call to march by the civil rights leaders, although his father wonders if the black folks will turn out for the protest, while Martha Ann, her white counterpart, is confronted by her neighbors who believe the “coloreds are all fired up by outside agitators.

As interesting as this device of mirror images of the girls is, there is something more intriguing, the debate of the use of black children on the front lines of the march. Dr. King wants to get the nation’s attention by employing the media to cover the march, their arrests by the brutal Bull Connor and his violent crew, forcing legislation to bring change to the underfunded, neglected black schools. Both Bevel and Abernathy see an advantage to put the kids in the march, with the white cops holding back on their more aggressive tactics. The two preachers win out and the children were used.

Probably the most engaging portion of the book is the examination of the families of Letitia and Martha Ann, the emotional and cultural details of their households, and the pressures of a racially tense atmosphere on both races. While Dr. King pray and try to fire out the resolve of the black community, many express Bull Connor might try to show the world that Jim Crow is here to stay in Birmingham.

If Martha Ann’s father lays down the law of nobody going downtown during the march, Letitia’s household is cautiously optimistic, because they have never seen anything like this. As Dr. King said during the 1963 event, he told the marchers: “These young people are about their Father’s business. They are carving a tunnel of hope through the great mountain of despair. They will bring to this nation a newness and a genuine quality and an idealism that is desperately needed.”

Turner’s descriptions of the march are dramatic and gripping, as Connor’s men turn fire hoses full force, knocking the children off their feet, slamming them against the buildings. The adults of the children are screaming, the children crying, and the cops run to the young marchers, letting dogs rip their young flesh. As Letitia learns the bitter history of her people first-hand, Martha Ann is saddened by the plight of the children at the hands of the violent white men.

In March With Me, Turner follows up on the lives of the girls now grown up into adults through the years from the march in 1963 to 1975 where the debate of racism and class continues. There is no doubt that Jim Crow has loosened its hold on the residents of the New South. Progress has been made, as many of my family and friends can agree, but there is still ambiguity and distrust between the races. With a promise of reconciliation and healing, Turner’s brave novel moves us through the bloody, maddening days of an bygone era, yet her characters offer the reader a crisp snapshot of racist Birmingham in the sixties.