Betsey Brown: A Novel (Paperback)

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ITEM# 3019467

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This is a unique and vividly told novel about a girl named Betsey Brown, an African American seventh-grader growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. While rendering a complete portrait of this girl, author Ntozake Shange also profiles her friends, her f...

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ITEM#: 3019467

Ntozake Shange is a renowned playwright, poet, and novelist. Her novels include Liliane and Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, both of which are available from Picador USA. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.
This is a unique and vividly told novel about a girl named Betsey Brown, an African American seventh-grader growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. While rendering a complete portrait of this girl, author Ntozake Shange also profiles her friends, her family, her home, her school, and her world. This world, though a work of fiction, is based closely and carefully on actual history, specifically on the nationwide school desegregation events of the Civil Rights movement in America’s recent past. As such, Betsey Brown is a historical novel that will speak to and broaden the perspectives of readers both familiar with and unaware of America’s domestic affairs of 1950s and 1960s.

Shange has set her story in the autumn of 1959, the year St. Louis started to desegregate its schools. In May of 1954, in its ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka--a verdict now seen by many as the origin of the Civil Rights movement--the United States Supreme Court outlawed school segregation. The novel is firmly located in the wake of this landmark ruling; the plot of Shange’s novel and the history of America’s quest for integration during the Civil Rights era are fundamentally entwined. Thus textual references abound to the watershed events at Little Rock’s Central High School in the September of 1957, for example, and to "fire-bombings and burningcrosses" in the South as well as "'battalions of police and crowds of crackers'" at a demonstration in St. Louis.

Betsey is the oldest child in a large, remarkable, and slightly eccentric African American family. Her father is a doctor who wakes his children each morning with point-blank questions about African history and Black culture while beating on a conga drum; her mother is a beautiful, refined, confident, and strong-willed social worker who is overwhelmed by the vast size of her young family and who cares very little for “all that nasty colored music.”

Indeed, Betsey’s whole existence can be seen as a percep...

Specs

Dimensions 8.0x6.0x1.0
ISBN 9780312134341
Genre FICTION / Family Life
Format Paperback
Publisher Date 1995-10-01 00:00:00.0
Publisher Picador USA
Height 8.25 in
Wdth 5.5 in
Thickness 0.75 in
Unit weight 0.55 lb
Language English
Subtitle A Novel
Audience General/trade
Authors Shange, Ntozake

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