Academic journal article Language Arts

The Road to Memphis

Academic journal article Language Arts

The Road to Memphis

Article excerpt

The Road to Memphis Written by Mildred D. Taylor Dial, 1990, 240 pp., ISBN 978-0- 1403- 6077- 6

1991 Coretta Scott King Author Award

Mildred D. Taylor's incomparable saga of an African American family began with Song of the Trees (CSK Honor 1976) and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (CSK Honor, 1977) and continued with Let the Circle Be Unbroken (CSK Author winner, 1982). In this fourth installment of the family's story, set in 1941, Cassie Logan is ready to start high school but must travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to do so since the public schools near her hometown do not educate African American students beyond the eighth grade. The three-day journey in her brother's new car is fraught with danger and requires tremendous personal courage. For Cassie, the distance is more than just geographic because it is also her first trip away from the security of her loving rural Mississippi family.

Few choices existed then for most African Americans of that era, and we see the lack of options for these teens represented in the circumstances of Cassie and her fellow travelers; however, they did have the resources of a mid-twentieth century underground railroad of sorts-a network of trusted adults who could aid them in those times of segregation before public accommodations laws or other civil rights legislation. …

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