True Stories of a Southern Childhood at the Height of the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Willie Mae Brown
Combining family stories of the everyday and the extraordinary as seen through the eyes of her twelve-year-old self, Willie Mae Brown gives readers an unforgettable portrayal of her coming of age in a town at the crossroads of history.
As the civil rights movement and the fight for voter rights unfold in Selma, Alabama, many things happen inside and outside the Brown family’s home that do not have anything to do with the landmark 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Yet the famous outrages which unfold on that span form an inescapable backdrop in this collection of stories. In one, Willie Mae takes it upon herself to offer summer babysitting services to a glamorous single white mother—a secret she keeps from her parents that unravels with shocking results. In another, Willie Mae reluctantly joins her mother at a church rally, and is forever changed after hearing Martin Luther King Jr. deliver a defiant speech in spite of a court injunction.
Infused with the vernacular of her Southern upbringing, My Selma captures the voice and vision of a fascinating young person—perspicacious, impetuous, resourceful, and even mystical in her ways of seeing the world around her—who gifts us with a loving portrayal of her hometown while also delivering a no-holds-barred indictment of the time and place.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)