I need your help. Seriously.

No matter your walk in life, we have all been affected by racial diversity. Some find it threatening. Others find is socially and culturally mesmerizing and exhilarating. For the purpose I am pursuing, let’s narrow it down to the white and African American culture.

While starting my new novel, my fear is the voice inside my head. It says,”How can you, a white woman, write about the African American experience in 1963? How could you possibly understand?”

Here’s my goal. To write an entertaining novel for all age groups but especially for young adults who may not know important historical facts about the Civil Rights Movement- which I will weave into the novel. I want the reader to take pause, reflect, and think about their actions going forward.

Big goal, huh? But I sincerely believe that understanding the past will put us in a better position for the future.

Here’s the premise to the novel:

In 1963, while staying with the unhinged friend of her deceased grandmother, a 14 yr old white girl from Texas meets a teenaged “Negro” boy from Alabama and learns first hand about racial injustice.

 

I am doing tons and tons of research. I have read “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin and The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

So here’s how you can, hopefully, help me.

  1. Is this a reasonable goal?
  2. What suggestions do you have for reading material that may help my accuracy?
  3. What experiences have you had that led you to a racial awareness/enlightenment?

I appreciate any and all suggestions!

Thank you for reading and responding!

Carolyn

Oh, and if you decide to write on this topic, MAKE SURE YOU LET ME KNOW. I promise to reblog unless it is offensive to humanity.

11 thoughts on “I need your help. Seriously.

  1. Why have you chosen 1963?

    When I went to Mississippi in 1956 I was startled by how white people regarded black people – separate waiting rooms in the bus and train stations. Black and white drinking fountains. Three public restrooms – men, women, and colored.

    When I was at Charleston, SC three of us GIs went to check on a black man’s Triumph motorcycle. He lived on the third floor located at 40 Mary Street (I don’t know why that address is still in my memory). The owner took us down to the back yard and opened a shed door, revealing this perfect blue motorcycle. Aspromonte, one of we three, was a fair mechanic and he asked why he was selling it. “It won’t start and nobody will work on it.” Aspromonte had me kick it over while he checked the spark and fuel. He pulled the fuel filter off, tapped it on the shed door. Crud fell out, so he reinstalled it and I started the bike. “Dump the fuel and the filter and you’ll be okay.”

    That’s as close as I’ve ever been to a black person’s world. I’ve tried a dozen times to write that story, but I can’t write what I feel.

    Scott

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure. and thank you for those kind words. There’s more that was said, but it involves the n-word twice. I don’t know if that’s a wise thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. I think it’s reasonable.
    2. I don’t have any suggestions for reading, but I was thinking maybe you could interview some from that generation. Since it being fairly recent (😑) I often forget people’s parents and grandparents were alive during a lot of it.
    3. I’m only 26 and I grew up in a fairly affluent neighborhood so I don’t have much experience with racial matters outside of what I see on TV and the internet. I have 3 black grandparents (the others white) so I think I do have more empathy when it comes to these things.

    I’d say the closest to an epiphany I had was when I worked at a security guard at Target. I was doing a “parking lot patrol” lol and it was at the height of Ferguson. I was walking and watching a majority of white people (very white area) go about their lives, not affected at all by those happenings. If they turn off the TV it’s I essentially a whole nother world. In my mind I likened it to a snow globe.

    But anyway, yeah I think if you could talk to someone from that time, I think that’d be really helpful, asking them specific questions and whatnot. Also, you’d get their emotions with that.

    But again, I’m only 26 and have experienced very little discrimination (beyond being made fun for my light skin in high school ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) so my experiences are limited!

    Liked by 1 person

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