Monday, February 21, 2011

"The Help", a novel

I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I highly recommend this book to all to read and, although it is a novel of fiction, I can promise you is based on reality.  We lived in Mississippi in the '70s for about seven years.  Coming from white bread Midwest, none of us had really experienced the Southern mentality.  Now, it is a beautiful state and we met many wonderful people there, but lying below the surface at that time was unbelievable racism.  A few examples:

  • the schools in the small town we were living in had only been integrated five years.  When we dropped in to see the schools before we made a decision to move there, the principal there said "Well, being from the North, you probably want to know about our blacks"  (I wanted to ask if they still owned them!)
  • I was getting my haircut....the guy who was doing me was chatting with one of the other hair dressers. He said that he just broke up with his girl friend because he found out she had kissed a black guy! (I quit going there!)
  • the Baptist church in town cancelled a traveling choral group when they found out there was some black singers in the group
  • when I took over the Girl Scout Troop, we had to move our meeting place to the Catholic Church because we had some new little black girls in the troop and the Methodist church would not allow us to use their facilities.
  • out in the country was this little rundown private skating rink which my girls had been to, so I took some of my troop out there to set up a date to skate.  The lady who owned it got me to one side and told me we would not be able to use the place because it would really hurt her business...she didn't care but she couldn't take a chance! (my girls didn't go there again).
  • I taught in the middle school which had been the old black school..1-12.   When integration took place, the town built an elementary...1-4. Had a middle school..5-8. The high school...9-12 had been the original white school...1-12.  One of my oldest daughter's friends' grandmother told me she could not wait until the girls got out of 8th grade so they would not have to go to that "colored" school any more!
  • There was quite a big difference in the structures of the two schools but I am pretty sure structure was not what the grandmother was referring to...and she really was a very sweet little old lady...just that mentality thing!
Now we had some wonderful times wasn't always doom and gloom but I did learn that it was a different that I hope has changed drastically in the past 30 years.  It was a terrific experience, one I would not trade for the world.

1 comment:

  1. I have also read The Help and have to say it is probably one of my favourite books ever. I thought it was informative and funny.however, the way people were treated by the White people was truly terrible. In some parts it made me almost ashamed to be White. However the main culprit got her comeuppance didn't she. I am presently reading "small island"by Andrea Levy and if you enjoyed The Help I think you should give this a try too.
    Anyway, I popped over to view your Tag Tuesday so I had better get on and view it. I am thinking about entering it this week - I fancy giving it a go!