5 out of 5 stars
Share This Review
G. E. Johnson is a young child whose parents are ACLU civil rights lawyers. They are dedicated to protecting and defending individual rights, which keeps the family of five—the couple, the author, and his two siblings—in close proximity to the happenings of the Civil Rights Movement. The author grew up witnessing his parents fiercely fighting for black rights. In his book, Darkness on the Delta, G.E. Johnson chronicles his life and experiences from 1966 to 1985. He cites that, while the vast majority of the book is factual, a small percentage is fictional.
The book begins in 1966 with the author befriending John Sylvester in Greenwood, where he has moved in with his aunt. Both kids have different temperaments and absorb certain events, killings, and related news differently. Later, one such event prompts him to abandon a legal career to become an educator, believing that education, rather than law, has the potential to influence cultural divides and generational mindsets. He puts all his efforts into teaching his students while fighting with Mr. Got-No-Money, the principal, for funding to develop the school. Subsequently, disasters strike the family, disrupting their calm, dividing the family, and challenging the principles they were raised with. His personal and professional growth amid the turbulent period, his friendship with John, his relationships with Claire, Shelley, Coleman, and Marin, and their entry and exit from his life make for an impactful read.
I have deep respect for the author's unwavering commitment to the values of equal rights for all. I admire his determination to pursue a career in education, despite the challenges posed by the system. He accepted the realities that could not be changed and worked tirelessly to provide his students with the best possible education. I found all the author's anecdotes engaging, particularly the one about filling in the adjectives. Moving moments in the book include the author's love, admiration, and respect for his mother, Ms. Coleman, Marin, and the waitresses, Ms. Malinda and Ms. Helen. The bond he developed with John, as well as the poems, are worth reading. Although the author's life was not easy, he never gave up and never lost faith in himself. His unwavering commitment to doing what was right impressed me the most. The book's structure is more effective due to the precise chapter titles and timelines.
The book offers various insights into friendships, relationships, trust, and standing up for one's principles. It emphasizes the importance of being wise and knowing when to quit a fight. The book suggests stepping back and acting when the mind is calm enough to think clearly. It also advises accepting what cannot be altered and working honestly towards goals with available resources.
I enjoyed reading the book, thanks to the author's crisp writing style and detailed descriptions of events on the ground during those times. Despite planning to complete the book in two days, I was drawn into the story, and the many events in every chapter made it difficult to put it down. I have no criticisms about the book, and the few minor errors did not detract from my overall enjoyment. Therefore, I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
As the book contains a few sexual encounters and profanity, it is unsuitable for younger audiences. Additionally, there is the use of offensive words for black or dark-skinned people, considering the book's setting during the Civil Rights Movement. Nevertheless, the story provides a fair view of how discrimination affects life and relationships on both sides. This book is more pertinent in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. It's disappointing to learn that very little has changed since then.
Darkness on the Delta
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon