Category Archives: Literature

Winning Over Women: A Civil Rights Strategy

Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard RustinTime on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin by Don Weise

I’m currently reading Bayard Rustin’s collected writings, “Time on Two Crosses.” In describing an inter-racial group’s efforts in 1947 to test the Morgan decision — the case that found that state segregation laws did not apply to interstate bus travel, he wrote:


“It appeared that women are more intelligently inquisitive, open for discussion, and liberal in their sentiments than men. On several occasions women not only defended those who broke with Jim Crow, but gave their names and addresses, offering to act as witnesses. In appealing for aid in the psychological struggle within the bus one might do well to concentrate on winning over women.”

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Re-reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This post originally appeared as a review on my Goodreads account on August 5, 2014.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve re-read this book over the years. What prompted this re-read the other day was taking one of those vapid internet quizzes “Which classic novel are you?” and since my result WASN’T “The body of ‘Moby-Dick‘ and the heart of ‘Bartleby the Scrivener‘” I was a little surprised. As part of an inter-racial family (spoiler alert: I’m basically the Dolphus Raymond sipping Coca-Cola out of a paper bag outside the courthouse) some of the themes of the book strike pretty close to home.

In some ways the book is so simple and straightforward that I wondered how it might age as I read it again in my thirties. As a story about and narrated by children (with fairly simplistic views about race throughout) I wondered how it would hold up. Would it be saccharine or seem dated? I also have sort of a micro-judginess about people who gush about To Kill a Mockingbird as their favorite book, simply because I know they read it sophomore year in high school and I wonder if they’ve read anything else since there. A variation on this is the zillions of little Harpers, Atticuses and Scouts (no Calpurnias, for the record) I’ve met on the playgrounds in recent years and I keep on wondering if these literary names reflect the parents’ sophomoric tastes. In short, I am a judgy, superficial and rather bitchy person who scrutinizes people’s tastes to that degree about a book that I’ve long declared one of my favorites as well.
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