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Prince Edward Dennis McFarland

Prince Edward

Dennis McFarland

Published
ISBN : 9780641728389
Hardcover
368 pages
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 About the Book 

In August of 1959, Benjamin Rome is ten years old, and his hometown of Farmville, Virginia, is immersed in a frenzy of activity the likes of which Ben has seen only at revival meetings. The Supreme Court has ordered the state to desegregate itsMoreIn August of 1959, Benjamin Rome is ten years old, and his hometown of Farmville, Virginia, is immersed in a frenzy of activity the likes of which Ben has seen only at revival meetings. The Supreme Court has ordered the state to desegregate its public schools- in response, Prince Edward County has instead voted to close them. Only a few weeks remain in which to establish a private, whites-only system. Most of Bens family is involved in the effort: his grandfather, Daddy Cary, has the ringleaders making speeches at his sixty-fifth birthday party- his father and his older brother, Al, borrow Farmville Highs lights for the new football field- his mother volunteers at the library book drive. Only Bens sister, Lainie, stands back, troubled but caught up in problems of her own. Come September, Prince Edwards Negro children will have no schools to attend, and that includes Burghardt, the son of the hired hand who works on Daddy Carys farm. Ben and Burghardt have been doing chores together, swimming in the creek at the end of the road, and sharing observations about the adult world for as long as Ben can remember. Ben has always known that the lives of Negroes and whites are separated by a color line, but lately none of what he has known seems to make sense. Burghardts grandmother, Granny Mays, steals away into the woods to testify to the trees about the suffering of her people- Burghardt appears to be hiding silver dollars in the rafters of the henhouse. Lainie takes Ben on a mysterious mission to the middle of nowhere- Al, up to now a petty thief, may have committed an unforgivable crime- and, meanwhile, the countys white leaders forge ahead with their plans to close the schools. When the summers events lead to an explosive climax, Ben, under the pressure of divided loyalties, finds himself facing choices beyond his years. It will be a long time before he begins to understand all he learns that summer - one of the hottest on record, and, for him, the lo