Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Review of "Goin’ Someplace Special," by Patricia C. McKissack and Jerry Pinkney

Review of

Goin’ Someplace Special, by Patricia C. McKissack and Jerry Pinkney ISBN 043945624x

Five out of five stars

 The context is the southern United States during the time of Jim Crow segregation and the main character is a young black woman living in a city. Her name is ‘Tricia Ann and for the first time she is going to go by herself to the place she calls “Someplace Special.” Her mother helps her don her best dress and gives her warnings to remember what she has been told.

 For young black women at that time and place, it meant far more than the normal warnings that parents give their female children that are venturing out alone for the first time. Nearly every place she will go has white and colored sections and she must not cross the social lines.

 ‘Tricia Ann takes the bus and walks past empty seats until she is in the colored section. She goes to the park and admires the fountain until she must sit down, only to discover that the bench is for whites only. When she is at the front door of a hotel, there is a crowd of fans that she is caught up in and is pressed inside, only to be told to get out.

 Finally, she arrives at the public library, with the sign out front “Public Library: All Are Welcome.” For ‘Tricia Ann, it is truly Someplace Special, for it is one of the few public places where blacks are welcome with whites.

 In the late 1950’s the library board of the city of Nashville, Tennessee voted to be fully integrated and that act is the basis for this story. It is a slightly fictionalized account of her childhood in coping with segregation. Black parents routinely did not their children venture out alone until they were mature enough to deal with the segregation and frequent ridicule by whites.

 Young people today have very little idea what was standard social policy only a few decades ago. This book of more fact than fiction is a lesson in how things used to be and hopefully will never be again.

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