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The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor
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RGG: Short story depicting aspects of the relationships between Blacks and Whites in 1930's Mississippi. The Logan family and many of the White characters in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry are present. The premise of an elderly Black man calling a White Man by his first name may be a bit esoteric, and the violent ending may be too difficult for some students.
  rgruberexcel | Sep 4, 2012 |
Having never read any of Mildred Taylor’s work, (I am embarrassed to say), I was AMAZED by the depth of social and cultural issues she was able to convey in 53 pages! The story takes place during one short afternoon. What can happen in one short afternoon? I was very skeptical, and assumed I would use this book in middle elementary classrooms, and it would be a very basic look at African-American life. I could not have more wrong! This book portrays a struggle between African-Americans and whites for the respect they both think they are entitled to and the lengths they will go to get it. It also demonstrates the pride both men feel for their race. This series of unfortunate events is a mirror image of hundreds of encounters between blacks and whites as they struggle throughout history.
Library Implications: This book is a great example of historical fiction for middle elementary school children; however its applications reach far beyond a good story. This book would be an excellent way to bring social studies, literature circles and the librarian all together. Because of its combination of short length and depth of information, older students can spend a small amount of time reading and still get a wealth of information that can be used for discussion groups and literature circles. This book also focuses on social interaction and the role segregation plays in the lives of African-Americans. This could launch a discussion on the question of segregation and if it still exists today, and if African-Americans are the only group to experience this type of degradation. ( )
  mathqueen | Feb 11, 2010 |
This is a short work that could easily be a missing scene from "Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry," although the events in it are so heartstopping that it can be tough to believe that Cassie Logan wouldn't have referenced them when similar events came up in that book (or its sequel, "Let The Circle Be Unbroken". Mildred Taylor is not one to pull punches, and I have no trouble believing that something very much like this story happened more than once in the 1930s South. ( )
  ovistine | Nov 9, 2008 |
This book begins in a old country store where girl names Cassie and her brother are sent to get some medicine for a neighbor. The store owners give the kids a hard time and even insults her little brother. On their way out they run into Mr. Bee a friend of theirs and he tells them to wait while he runs in and get a couple items so he can join them on their walk back. Mr. Bee addresses Mr. Wallace the store owner by his Christian name John, which is not acceptable from African Americans at the time. Mr. Wallace’s sons who work there verbally state their opinion on the matter but Mr. Wallace serves Mr. Bee and tells him to get on his way. Mr. Bee and Mr. Wallace had an agreement a long time ago when Mr. Wallace was little and Mr. Bee saved his life, Twice. Mr. Wallace told Mr. Bee he could always call him John, but now that time passed things changed. Mr. Wallace and the kids return to the store later to get a couple more things and things then get violent. Not to ruin the book, this book just shows that judgment plays a strong role on individuals. Even though Mr. Bee saved Mr. Wallace’s life, Mr. Wallace doesn’t want people to know that he respects a man of a different race and instead betrays Mr. Bee.

This book touches so many topics on race and friendship. I liked the book’s message and the pencil illustrations were great. This book puts you in a place in time when these events actually did happen in real life. I enjoy Mildred Taylor’s book, they are great.

In the classroom students could discuss what the message of the book. This could also be great beginner on studying the author Mildred Taylor and following with some of her other books. ( )
  GI142984 | Mar 2, 2008 |
School Library Journal,1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A hot, humid afternoon in Mississippi in 1933 is the setting for a tense drama and tragic confrontation between Mr. Tom Bee, an elderly black man, and a white store owner, John Wallace. The interaction between the two men portrays how severely the bonds of friendship can be tested against a backdrop of racism, peer pressure, and individual rights. This novella is narrated by Cassie Logan from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Dial, 1976). She and her brothers go to the country store for some medicine for a neighbor. At the store, they are hassled by Wallace's sons. They run into Mr. Bee, who addresses John Wallace by his first name. Blacks are forbidden to do so, but Mr. Bee had saved John's life on more than one occasion, and John had given him permission to call him by his first name. Under pressure and taunting by the men in his store, John reneges on his promise in an explosive and devastating outburst. The characterization is very strong in this brief drama, and the events of this fateful afternoon will be unforgettable. The black-and-white illustrations are noteworthy, and depict the story's mood and action well. This book lends itself well to discussions on various topics pertaining to human relations." ( )
  MyraC | May 31, 2007 |
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In memory of my father, the storyteller
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"Now don't y'all go touchin' nothin'," Stacey warned as we stepped onto the porch of the Wallace store.
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This is for the single story The Friendship. Please do not combine with other collections.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140389644, Paperback)

It's hot and humid in 1933 Mississippi, when an elderly black man and a white store owner test their friendship against a backdrop of racism and peer pressure. An explosive confrontation takes place when the black man, Tom Bee, greets the clerk, John Wallace, by his first name--an intimacy unheard of at the time. A group of witnesses heckles Wallace for what they perceive as his permissiveness, and in spite of his private promise to Bee to allow him to greet him this way, Wallace betrays Bee, shooting him in the leg. This brief but poignant story won the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award. It provides strong characterization as well as food for discussion on racism and human relations.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:48 -0400)

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Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper in rural Mississippi in the 1930s.

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