My great-grandfather was lynched. It was not a big affair in the town square; it happened on a dusty southern road. But its imprint and the communal denial in the small southern town that is our homeland have had lasting reverberations for generations of my family.
Last Tuesday night, I went down to Chicago's Grant Park to witness
Barack Obama's election and victory speech. At the event, I was struck
by the fact that the crowd was at its loudest and most excited not when
Obama and his family took the stage but earlier, when CNN projected him
as the winner.
The story of the lone, crazed gunman is a familiar one in America, but that is not the story of Benjamin Smith, who went on a drive-by shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana over the July 4 weekend, killing two and wounding nine.
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin stands alongside Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Frederick Douglass's Narrative as an American classic. Any liberally educated person needs to know something about Eliza, Uncle Tom, Eva and the notorious Simon Legree.
In The Help, set during the civil rights era, an aspiring
journalist decides to write a book about the African-American domestics
in the small Mississippi town where she grew up. The movie, adapted by
Tate Taylor from Kathryn Stockett's best seller, is a glossy Hollywood
potboiler that uses a serious theme and historical context as cover.