Up From the Blue
is Susan Henderson's debut novel. She has gifted readers with a poignant story of family, resilience and hope. Tillie Harris speaks to us from 1991 but most of the narrative is spent reflecting on the year 1975; a time of banana seat bicycles, the growing feminist movement, school desegregation, and upheaval within the Harris family.
Back in 1975, Tillie's father is in the military, he is rigid (though not uncaring) and regimented by nature. When his wife Mara, Tillie's mother, falls into a deep depression he does not understand what is wrong with her so lobs out words like "lazy", "stubborn" and "helpless". The family is truly scrambling in an effort to keep the illusion of togetherness while trying to come to grips with Mara's inability to function as a wife and mother.
Mara is an interesting character. Henderson...
Beyond the Book
In 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down its judgment for Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas.
In their landmark unanimous (9-0) decision, the Court stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal", and thus ruled segregation to be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. This ruling overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson
"separate but equal" decision of 1896 which had reinforced segregation, paving the way for integration and the civil rights movement.
Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, by the late 1960s many schools remained effectively segregated due to demographic and...