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Crow Paperback – March 12, 2013
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Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2012:
“The expert blending of vivid historical details with the voice of a courageous, relatable hero makes this book shine.”
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, January 1, 2012:
“Wright has taken a little-known event and brought it to vivid life, with a richly evoked setting of a town on the Cape Fear River, where a people not far from the days of slavery look forward to the promise of the twentieth century.”
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2011:
“This thought-provoking novel and its memorable cast offer an unflinching and fresh take on race relations, injustice, and a fascinating, little-known chapter of history.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Relying on historical records, Wright deftly combines real and fictional characters to produce an intimate story about the Wilmington riots to disenfranchise black citizens. An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero."
About the Author
- Publisher : Yearling; Reprint edition (March 12, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0375873678
- ISBN-13 : 978-0375873676
- Reading age : 10 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 800L
- Grade level : 5 - 4
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.19 x 0.81 x 7.69 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #400,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Crow tells the story of Wilmington in 1898 through Moses Thomas, a 12-year-old boy from a black middle-class family. In the first half of the book Moses tells us about his day-to-day life. We learn about Moses mother, who loves music and works as a maid. We learn about Moses grandmother, Boo Nanny, who was a slave until she was 30. And we learn about Moses father, a college educated writer at the Wilmington Daily Record, the only black daily newspaper in the South. Moses father is also an alderman in the city government. Moses tells us about his friend Lewis, and what happens when he borrows Lewis's bicycle. We see him try to keep a job picking okra, only to lose it because he tells the truth. We see him becoming friends with a white boy named Tommy, and watch as they explore tunnels under the city. The narrative takes over from the vignettes by the time Moses and his father take a train to Fayetteville. When they arrive in Fayetteville, they find themselves in the middle of a white supremacist rally. By the end of the narrative, the government of Wilmington has been forcibly removed by white supremacists.
Democracy is of fundamental importance to Moses father. He views the right to vote as a sacred requirement and he and Moses worked together to encourage blacks to vote. Moses' father expounds on the value of democracy even as he and other members of the existing government in Wilmington are put on a train by the white mob and exiled from Wilmington.
We have just witnessed a presidential inauguration in this country. An inauguration is, in a way, a symbol of our democracy. It's a peaceful transfer of power which comes about as a result of an election. This is basic to our country. I had no idea power had ever changed hands as a result of violence in the United States. Crow is a powerful cautionary tale.
Tensions in Moses' town rise during an election season, as the white community spreads rumors that the black community is plotting to take their women, their jobs, and their political power. Their only evidence is the willingness of a few educated black men to exercise their rights to free speech and participate in the local government and economy. Irrational fear spirals into violence. The people the mob wants to drive out of town are not the poorly educated or the criminal, as they claim, but the most highly educated and respected men in the African-American community.
I was struck by the timely implications of this story as our country today navigates a contentious political season in which, for better or worse, race has taken center stage. I felt a chill at reading how quickly a nervous coexistence can explode into us-versus-them violence. But I was grateful that author Barbara Wright pulled this forgotten historical event out from under the rug so that we could learn from it. I was even more grateful that her choice of a child's-eye view allowed me to witness the human capacity for growth. In the end, I felt hope. This is an important story that deserves a wide audience.