Note: We have received a letter of concern about some of the language in this book from a parent. We are currently re-reading and discussing the book and her concerns with colleagues. The reason we are leaving it posted, with this notice, is that it is one of the very few books for young people on the Black political advances during Reconstruction and the brutal white supremacist repression that followed.
Reviewed by Deborah Menkart
Author: Barbara Wright
With voter disenfranchisement in the news today, here is a historical novel about the brutal repression of African-American voters that brought an end to the short-lived Reconstruction era.
Shining a light on the seldom-told story of the 1898 Wilmington Massacre, Wright creates the character of 5th grader Moses Thomas, whose father is an alderman and a reporter for the Wilmington Daily Record, the only African American paper in the South.
Through young Thomas’ adventures and his conversations with his grandmother, who lived for decades in slavery, readers learn about day-to-day life in the Black community. The tension mounts as signs increase of the white supremacist Red Shirts’ plans to use violence to prevent African Americans from voting and to shut down the paper. The book includes many real people and events.
Crow by Barbara Wright
Published by Random House on 2012
Genres: African American, Historical Fiction, Racism, U.S. History
Reading Level: Grades 6-8
Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's synopsis: In 1898, a thriving African American community — enfranchised and emancipated — suddenly and violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina when a group of local politicians stages the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history.