The Sacred Place A Novel

Daniel Black

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

304 Pages


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In the summer of 1955, fourteen-year-old Clement enters a general store in Money, Mississippi, to purchase a soda. Unaware of the consequences of flouting the rules governing black-white relations in the South, this Chicago native defies tradition by laying a coin on the counter and turns to depart.  Miss Cuthbert, the store attendant, demands that he place the money in her hand, but he refuses, declaring, "I ain't no slave!" and exits with a sense of entitlement unknown to black people at the time.   His behavior results in his brutal murder, which sparks a war in Money, forcing the black community to galvanize its strength in pursuit of equality.


Praise for The Sacred Place

“Readers will wonder, applaud, laugh, cry, and share in those intersections where living history makes lived history not only tolerable, but impressively acceptable.”—Trudier Harris, author of Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South

The Sacred Place is a work of power and depth, reminding us of a recent, painful past that too many of us have tried to forget.”—Trey Ellis, author of Platitudes

The Sacred Place is a magnificent illustration of the power of [Black's] imagination in which the virtues of courage, sacrifice, and, most importantly, spiritual maturity jump off every page.”—Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Exodus!: Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America

The Sacred Place is a captivating art of storytelling in a time before the Civil Rights Era. This great novel serves as a time machine, helping us revisit our past in hopes of someday reconciling our differences.”—Keith A. Beauchamp, director/producer of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

“The writing is splendidly mature. It ranks among our best new story-telling. In these pages we can rediscover how to be patient with the Universe and its seeming axiom: Freedom costs!”—Jeffrey Lynn Woodyard, Ph.D.

“While spending the summer of 1955 with relatives in Money, Miss., 14-year-old Chicago-raised Clement unleashes hell when he buys a root beer at the general store and refuses to place the nickel in the white female cashier's hand, leaving it instead on the counter. Though his sharecropping grandparents and aunt and uncle try desperately to protect him—his grandfather shoots and kills the men who come looking for the boy—Clement is abducted and his death is inevitable. Patriarch Jeremiah Johnson's pain and anger bring him to call a town meeting, and the town's blacks decide to stand up against generations of murders, lynchings, rapes and other violence.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

The Sacred Place
One"COME ON, CLEMENT!" HIS COUSINS DEMANDED. "YOU AIN'T got no business in dat store! Granddaddy kill you if he find out you went in there all by yo'self!"Clement smiled at the thought of his own defiance, trying to imagine what eighty-year-old Jeremiah Johnson could possibly do to him, with one bad leg and two failing eyes. Of course a whoopin' would hurt, he considered, but the pain was always temporal. All he wanted was a soda pop, and he didn't understand why he couldn't simply waltz into the General Store and get one. That's what white folks did when they wanted something;
Read the full excerpt


  • Daniel Black

  • Daniel Black is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, yet spent the majority of his childhood years in Blackwell, Arkansas. He is an associate professor at his alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, where he now aims to provide an example to young Americans of the importance of self-knowledge and communal committment. He is also the author of They Tell Me of a Home.
  • Daniel Black
    Daniel Black