Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Racial Relations in the South of 1958

Ivy arrives home at four in the morning. She hopes to not be caught, but that hope vanishes when she hears her sister, Mary Ella, screaming in the upstairs bedroom. It's not a nightmare. Mary Ella is ready to have her baby. The problem is the baby's father is unknown, and Ivy is terribly afraid that Eli, their black neighbor, is the father.

This is the south, North Carolina to be exact, in 1958 and having a black baby could mean that Ivy, Mary Ella and their grandmother
lose their home.

Ivy was late coming home because she and Henry Gardiner, her long time playmate, were fooling around with a Ouija board in the church. Did they really call up a spirit?

The short story is a good introduction to the longer work “Necessary Lies.” It portrays the difficulty of growing up poor in the south and the racial tensions that sprang from blacks and whites living close together, but supposed to stay apart.

Ivy is a delightful character. She's game to wander around with Henry late at night having adventures, but she cares a lot about her family and tries her best to make things work so that Mary Ella's baby will be born alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this taste of “Necessary Lies” and hope to enjoy the full book.