New York : Random, 2012
IL 5-8, RL 4.6
It is 1898 and Moses and his family are living in Wilmington, NC. Moses' grandmother is a former slave who is very superstitious. His mother works as a housekeeper for a rich white family. His father is a graduate of Howard University and works for the largest black newspaper in the state. He is also an alderman in the town. Things should be looking up. The new century is right around the corner. Wilmington is the home of a growing middle class of black workers. Only one generatioin removed from slavery, Moses and his family are looking forward to living a comfortable life. Until a group of white businessmen decide that the blacks are getting too successful and set out to end their upward climb. Race riots ensue and all the blacks are thrown out of office. This little-known piece of history is told through the eyes of 11-year-old Moses.
Have you ever been to Wilmington, North Carolina? It’s a nice town on the coast of North Carolina, very close to the border between North and South Carolina, and for Moses Thomas, who lives there in 1898, life in summertime Wilmington is pretty predictable. He gets up in the morning, helps his grandma, Boo Nanny, with the wash she takes in from rich folks. Then, he might go visit his father down at the “Wilmington Daily Record” newspaper offices where he is a reporter. And, probably, he’ll hang out with his best friend. Overall, Wilmington is a good place for a young African American boy to grow up. The city government is integrated, and there are opportunities for African American families like Moses’s to advance within the community – opportunities that are denied them in other parts of the country.
But things begin changing after the shadow of a crow narrowly misses crossing over Moses, something Boo Nanny says is a bad omen. Some of those changes are good, like his grandmother finally looking like maybe she’ll let Moses teach her to read, something she’d never been able to learn to do back when she was a slave. But other changes aren’t as good. Moses’s best friend has started hanging out with another boy from a well-off family who thinks he’s too good for Moses. And Moses comes smack up against racist attitudes when he is told he cannot enter a contest to win a bike, just because he is black. Then election time comes around, and white supremacist groups make it their mission to see that the African American community’s power is destroyed. Pretty soon, Moses’s life is going from predictable to dangerous, and his family faces a threat they’d never imagined happening in their town. In fact, amid arrests, riots, mobs, and lynchings, Moses’s and his family’s lives will be changed forever. To find out more about the frightening events that really took place in a place not so far from where we live today, and to find out what happens to Moses and his family, read Crow, by Barbara Wright. (South Carolina Junior Book Award nominee 2015, Prepared by: Julie Hornick, River Oaks Middle School, email@example.com)
Americans -- Fiction.
Wilmington (N.C.) -- History -- 19th century -- Fiction.
Family life -- North Carolina -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Race relations -- Fiction.