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Color me dark : the diary of Nellie Lee Love, the great migration North /

Eleven-year-old Nellie Lee Love records in her diary the events of 1919, when her family moves from Tennessee to Chicago, hoping to leave the racism and hatred of the South behind. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Scholastic, 2000
Edition: First edition.
Series: Dear America.
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SUMMARY

Eleven-year-old Nellie Lee Love records in her diary the events of 1919, when her family moves from Tennessee to Chicago, hoping to leave the racism and hatred of the South behind.


Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Although 11-year-old Nellie Lee takes after her Mama's folks and "could pass," she proudly says "color me dark." Through the child's diary entries, McKissack explores the racism that existed in post World War I Tennessee, where a lighter skin was considered "better" than a darker one. In fact, a major story line involves Nellie Lee's sister, Erma Jean, as she learns to treasure her darker color. When Uncle Pace, returning from the war, is found badly injured, the family suspects the worst but can't prove it, and Erma Jean suffers hysterical muteness. His death propels Nellie Lee's father to join the Great Migration north to Chicago in search of a better life. The family discovers that although they do not face the Klan there, racism still exists, even within the black community. McKissack deftly explores the social unrest between blacks and whites and the social stratification within the black community, where newly arrived southern blacks were looked down upon by the more affluent residents. The time period is well developed, and serves as a compelling backdrop to the Love family's struggle to find a place. Nellie is a feisty and loyal protagonist, and although her voice sounds a bit mature for an 11-year-old, her observations carry the story line and interpret the action in a believable way. Secondary characters are distinct and add a richness to the telling.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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