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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Leon's Story

It's a fact of living here: at some point in time, you have to explain to your child that some awful, horrible things happened here - right here - in the name of race. Living here you don't have the luxury of distance. This happened on this dirt.

In my mind, it's not enough to just say that white people used to think black people inferior. That doesn't even begin to convey the magnitude of the injustice and the sheer terror inflicted on people just trying to live their lives.

And so I used our reading time. The last half hour before the oldest goes to bed is reserved for me to read aloud to him, but we often have deep discussions in the lull.

Last year in first grade, he developed a love for biography and autobiography. It therefore seemed best to me to let someone who lived it tell it. We finished reading the book I chose last night and, when I finally turned out the light, the oldest, appropriately, was somber and pensive.

About this book

One additional note: What that review doesn't mention (but I knew in advance from reading others) is that on Leon's fifteenth birthday, his father is purposely mowed down by a car full of drunken, white teenagers, who then turn the car around to hit him again. Leon is watching as his father is killed.

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