2 out of 4 stars
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In The Lofton 6, Darryl G. Lofton tells the story of his African-American family. His parents, Leon and Esther, were both school teachers in Los Angeles, California. The Brown v. Board of Education US Supreme Court ruling of 1954, supposed to end racial discrimination in America, became the catalyst for the downfall of their family. His parents lost their teaching jobs and any opportunities to get employment; they eventually filed a case against the Los Angeles Unified School District. As they continued their fight for their right to work, the government stymied their efforts, finally arresting them for vagrancy in 1966. At that time, their six children were taken into government custody. It was all the more painful because Leon was an American hero, having received a Purple Heart for being wounded in World War II.
Darryl describes how he and his siblings got separated, lived with various foster families, attended different schools, were molested by deviant characters in their foster homes, reunited with their parents on and off through the years, and generally experienced disorganized lives.
What is it like to be a black person in America? Do the present laws treat them fairly? Has Obama made the black person equal to the white person?
I am Asian, and I have my own experiences to tell about discrimination. Although I had head knowledge of the plight of blacks in America, this book heightened my awareness. The book led me to read up on “separate but equal,” “Jim Crow,” and the civil rights movement. I was moved to tears just imagining the experiences of this mistreated race. The author refers to the situation as the American "Holocaust."
Despite his harrowing experiences, Darryl has kept his sense of humor. The chapters are given witty titles; most of the stories are narrated in a lighthearted manner. He shares interesting trivia with his stories to help the reader travel back in time. However, the humor does not mask the pain that he carries in his heart.
Darryl includes pictures that allow the reader to appreciate the people in his stories more. The reader also sees a copy of the case filed by Leon and Esther Lofton in the appendix.
This is an eye-opening and heart-rending read for me. I wish that discrimination of all kinds would stop.
While the book is certainly touching, there is room for improvement. The editing leaves much to be desired. Misspellings, punctuation errors, wrong verbs, and other grammar lapses abound. For the editing issue, the book loses one star. There is also some jumping around in the stories, making it difficult to pinpoint when events occurred. Too many technical details are shared about Darryl’s stint with the Navy. These make reading a bit of a chore and cost another star.
I give this book 2 out of 4 stars. It is not short on action and drama, but it needs a more systematic organization and better editing to really shine. Non-fans of autobiographies may not enjoy it. However, I believe the book will touch many readers, both those who have experienced discrimination and those who want to be made aware of the sad experience of alienation.
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