Debbie's Reviews > The Queen of Palmyra

The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin
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Feb 10, 11

Read from February 02 to 09, 2011

What a tragic story! It is similar to The Help in that the author grew up in MS and according to her, experienced the white side of this story and observed the black side. The characters are fictional, however, one character is based on the author's babysitter as a child. While I enjoyed The Help, this story captivated me sooner and was more riveting. It is told from the eyes of 10 year old Florence Irene Forrest. It is 1963 and she is living in Millwood, MS. Her mother is the town "cake lady" and an alcoholic. Her father has great pride in being the 4th generation Nighthawk for the Klan. While her father has great disdain for "outside agitators" in the "negro" population, her mother grew up in an affluent family with a black caretaker and the same woman (Zenie), is hired to care for Florence. Her mother would do anything to help the same population that her father would rather see destroyed to maintain "purity." I experienced a whole range of emotions while reading this and had difficulty sleeping two nights in a row (I am kind of a wimp). There is anger, disgust, fear and especially sadness at what this girl endures. The descriptives used by the author made me feel as though I was in the room many times. While it is disturbing, it is unfortunately also easy to believe a family such as this could exist. After reading this and The Help, it makes me wonder if this horrifying hatred still exists in some people and I am just oblivious to it. I pray not!
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message 1: by Edith (new)

Edith This must be a powerful book if it affected your sleep for two nights...certainly the heinous crimes of the Ku Klux Klan would do that- this group of cowards was one of the ugliest, evil groups in our country’s history. In the US History class I am auditing currently, we are studying the turn of the century and one of the facts we were asked to note was that, in 1882, our Supreme Court actually voided the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 which had outlawed this organization. So back it came in full force and lynching increased...more than 1,400 black men were lynched or burned alive during the 1890s. In 1883, the Court also voided the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which had given blacks equal rights in public places. Progress for blacks was stopped in its tracks and taken back to earlier inequities because of tremendous pressure from southerners and an increasing lack of interest in the North for these problems that just wouldn’t go away. And yes, I am fairly certain that if you scratch very deep in a lot of people today, you will encounter ugly prejudices that are still alive and kicking under the thin veneer of political correctness.


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