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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

White Mother

Winter is the time of year to slow down. Life moves indoors and we have time to do things that get pushed back in other seasons. I always have a list of things I want to do in the winter and I'm nearing the end of the list a bit early this year. Today I did a little scrapbooking to ease my conscience and spent most of the rest of the day reading a book I've been wishing to find for years.
When I was in about fifth grade, our teacher read a book to us that made a great impression on me. White Mother, published in 1957, was written by Jessie Bennett Sams about her own life. Into the lives of two ragged little Negro girls came an angel-a white angel. So it seemed to Veanie and Mingie Bennett, seven-year-old twins in a Florida town, half-savage, motherless, caring for their paralyzed and dying father. Alone they fought for their lives, stole food, and struggled against a hostile world. Then chance led them to the white side of town and the door of Mrs. Rossie Lee. It proved to be the door to a new life.
This book was my first introduction to  race prejudice and the Jim Crow laws in the deep South. I had no idea anything like that existed. Sometimes our teacher would stop reading to us, read silently to herself, and then lay the book aside. I always wondered what those parts were that she wouldn't read to us. I looked for the book but never found it.
Then this week,  a Google search found a free download of the book for me. I snapped it up with my Kindle reader and had a hard time putting it down. I indulged myself in reading today and finished it. I enjoyed it as much as I did back in fifth grade, although I probably understood some things better than I did back then.
I think I finally know what parts the teacher didn't read to us. But I'm not going to tell you. Read it for yourself. You can download it here to Kindle or a PDF file.

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