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Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin Paperback – September 17, 1998
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Americans coming of age in the 1960s faced a society in flux: attitudes about sex, race, and politics were radically changing; revolution was in the air and the nation seemed fractured, unable to find a common cause to unite its fragmented people. Author Deborah E. McDowell grew up near Birmingham, Alabama, the crucible of the civil rights movement, and the remarkable Leaving Pipe Shop is a memoir of those years. What distinguishes Pipe Shop from similar books is McDowell's emphasis on the everyday lives of ordinary people inhabiting that time and place. Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy, and George Wallace make only cameo appearances in this account; the main players on McDowell's stage are the members of her family, her church, and her neighborhood.
"Pipe Shop" refers to the black working-class neighborhood in Bessemer (just outside of Birmingham) where Deborah McDowell grew up. Her book begins with her return to Pipe Shop to investigate her father's death, part of the class-action lawsuit filed by victims of asbestos poisoning against the steel mill where he once worked. McDowell's trip home elicits plenty of memories--how her neighbors reacted to bus boycotts and boycotts of white-owned businesses, going to hear Martin Luther King speak, and the murder of her own activist pastor. Leaving Pipe Shop is an evocative portrait of one African American community's struggle to cope with the changes that swept through a nation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The author, a professor of English and African American studies at the University of Virginia, was summoned home to Pipe Shop, Alabama, to investigate whether her father's early death at age 51 in 1981 had been caused by asbestos poisoning from his work at a pipe and foundry company. (The matter remains unresolved because her father's employment records have been lost.) The trip back to the small Southern factory town triggers sad memories of a childhood impacted by the realities of segregation, but also fond recollections recounted here of a closely knit family life. Despite the author's rambling, somewhat disorganized style, her prose comes alive when she describes family members, such as her domineering grandmother, whom she called "Mother" and who advised her to get out of Pipe Shop if she wanted to succeed. She also recalls the importance of learning to read as well as the influence of the black church on her upbringing. Though she felt estranged from her father after she found out he was unfaithful to her mother, McDowell's recognition of the humiliations he suffered at the hands of his white employees is powerful and haunting.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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