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Mississippi Morning by Ruth Vander Zee
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Mississippi Morning

by Ruth Vander Zee

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Mississippi Morning is a story about a little boy growing up right in the middle of the civil rights movement. He is young and white, sheltered from what is going around him and unaware of what makes the differences, just thinking that's the way things are. In the book he hears this rumor about these men that walk around at night in white cloaks with white hoods and hurt/kill people of color. He doesn't believe his friend until one night he sees one, then only to realize that the one he saw was his father.

This story has an interesting end. It's realistic and a way to teach students of the not always happy ending stories. However, I am not sure it would be the way that I would want to introduce this topic to my students. A story where a little boy finds out that his father, his hero, was not who he thought and it ends in disappointment. ( )
  hmlasnick | Oct 9, 2017 |
Mississippi Morning is about a young boy named James, who is white, in the 1930's. James is very naïve and doesn't understand segregation. He doesn't see that black folks are not treated the same as white folks. James hears his father talking to some friends and they are angry. James' friend Red tells him he heard them saying they purposely set a black mans house on fire. James becomes friends with a black boy and his father does not approve. James still goes fishing with LeRoy and LeRoy informs James of this tree that is used for lynching. James becomes well informed about discrimination and segregation and doesn't agree with it. He thinks his friendship with black people are normal and nothing different. James sees a man in a white cloth walking down the street and notices it is his dad. He begins to understand his dad is apart of the KKK and now his relationship with his dad is never the same. He doesn't do anything about it, which is disturbing, but I know James will never trust his dad again. I like how awesome James is in this story. He thinks blacks folks are just as great as white folks and there shouldn't be a difference. People should all be treated equal. I like how this book touches on that. This is a great book for children. It informs them on many things like lynching, segregation, discrimination, KKK but also shows the great point of view James has. This was a great book and the illustrations were perfect. ( )
  cmsmit12 | Mar 28, 2017 |
I thought that this book was interesting, to say the least. Unlike most books about segregation, this one is written from the perspective of a young, southern, white boy in the 1930's. Despite the nature of his father's beliefs, James, our protagonist, manages to remain largely unprejudiced, and moreover, almost completely unaware of the political and racial climate of the 30's. His naivete shocked me, considering his father's role in the KKK, and I must admit that despite the other shortcomings of his father's character, the man at least had the decency to refrain from ingraining such hatred in a young child.

I almost want to be upset by the anticlimactic ending of the book-- I wish that James had stood up to his father somehow instead of pretending that he hadn't seen what he had. However, I think that it is important to remember whose point-of-view the story is being told from. James is a young white boy living a comfortable life who doesn't quite understand the complexity of race relations during this time, and is shocked to discover that his own father could be a member of the KKK. The story's ending made me wonder if our protagonist continued on throughout his life ignoring the injustices occurring right before his eyes. I'd like to believe, however, that although he said nothing to his father, what James saw that day stuck with him and forever altered the course of his life for the better. ( )
  btbarret | Feb 15, 2017 |
The life of James Williams is slow and predictable. His father owns a store where locals come to shop for needed hardware items. Men gather on the porch to share conversation in the hot afternoon, and at the cool evening.

Jame's life slowly unfolds into a series of happenings that make him stop and take a listen. James is a good child. He helps with chores around the house which free his father to concentrate on the store. He enjoys being with his father at the store when he can go after his chores.

All too soon his life and his perceptions are about to change. He learns of a fire purposely set by white people intent on burning down the black people's home.

He spends tine with his black friend Leroy, fishing in a place where others cannot see the together. Leroy is told that a white person fishing with a black is "just not normal. LeRoy tells James about the Hanging tree where innocent black men are hung for doing something the white men don't like.

James also learns of the KKK. Finding it difficult to believe that white people could so easily be cruel, James is in for the surprise of his life when one day he sees a white robed man with a familiar gait walking toward home. And, now James is confronted with the fact that his father is not a man he believed him to be.
  Whisper1 | Sep 10, 2016 |
This story blew my mind and broke my heart. What was different about this book compared to others that focus on African-American treatment in our past history, is that the readers see the feelings of a young boy who is not of color. The boy is friends with an African-American boy and he doesn't understand why the people around him can't be friends despite the color of their skin. The boy finds out that his dad he looks up to is part of a hate group called the Klu Klux Klan. I love how this story shows the perspective of a white child and how these feelings can affect a family. ( )
  imasson | Sep 7, 2016 |
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Amidst the economic depression and the racial tension of the 1930s, a boy discovers a horrible secret of his father's involvement in the Ku Klux Klan.

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