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Review: A Cry In The Night by Mary Brown-Durr

The book, A Cry in the Night, based on the murder of a seventeen year old civil rights participant, provides a general background on the life of Negros in Canton, Mississippi during the Jim Crow era. The city of Canton, now the city of lights was once a city embedded in darkness as Negros struggled for justice and equality. It focuses primarily on the role of the civil rights movement dealing with boycott, integration, voter registration, and death. Recommend for general reading.

Considering that we just celebrated 50 years since the March on Washington, it is books like this that painfully remind us of a part of history that today seems inconceivable. So many take for granted the rights they so boldly declare entitled by the constitution but don’t understand their privileges are by the fruits of labor from people who fought so hard to have a voice when they had no right to have one.

A Cry In The Night, represents the silent tears shed by the voices never heard during a time when many had none. Based on the life and murder of a teenage civil rights worker in a small town in Mississippi, we are lead through the reflections of what life was life towards African Americans during the Jim Crow era embedded with the Civil Rights Movement. Experiencing first hand, the author takes the reader through a perspective that is compelling, heart breaking and needed to be shared.

When you read stories such as this, there is a level of appreciation you gain that this is not our existence today. I’m not saying that we don’t have issues remaining but the climate that permeated through the South isn’t indicative of our current times. It puts in perspective and makes you appreciate the life you have and all the freedoms you are entitled to and it frustrates for all the ones who take for granted not understanding that you have choices because someone fought for it. For so many, the basic rights to talk to who you want, shop, get an education, work and vote are all privileges that many have walked, marched and projected their voices when it cost them their lives. 

With the history of oral tradition dying, I’m glad books like this are written because it keeps alive perspectives that shouldn’t be forgotten and we are able to get a picture through the eyes of someone who lived and experienced it. Despite some technical issues in the book, it didn't detract from the heart of the story being told. I think no matter who you are, this is one that everyone will appreciate.

Reviewed by Michelle Bowles

Book Information
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 8/7/2013
Pages: 100

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