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Visible Empire


An epic novel—based on true events—of love, grief, race, and wealth.
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In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

Created: 08/07/19

Replies: 10

Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

Visible Empire is a work of historical fiction, but there are subjects explored here that, unfortunately, continue to be timely--racism and police brutality, in particular. Piedmont is haunted by what happened to Emmett Till, and the only brief moment in which he is "not a Negro or a Colored or a Boy or a Darkie or aware of color at all" (page 209) is when he brings Lily to the hospital. In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 211

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

I live in the South (Kentucky) so I know firsthand we have a long way to go .... as evidenced by the current evening news each day. I think dealing with large social issues like civil rights is somewhat like the shifting of the plates in the earth. Each day they shift and change, until one day there are some tremors that shake things up slightly. Everything settles down again with small changes accepted into the reality of day to day life. But every so often -- maybe every 25-30 years -- there is a huge shift that causes an earthquake, upending everything as we know it, and we have to deal with the fires, the death, the destruction. Afterwards we try to put safeguards in place so this won't happen again .... and maybe it won't as quickly, because maybe this shift caused some long lasting change to those plates deep in the earth. (I liken these times to when a new generation comes along not steeped in the prejudices of their parents and grandparents.) But until the time when we are all on equal footing, those shifts are necessary and need to be expected. We have to hope and pray we as a people are strong enough and visionary enough to go forward after each time of upheaval instead of backward.


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
colleenf

Join Date: 08/07/18

Posts: 15

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

I feel like people of color have the opportunity to vote, work and go to school. But I don't feel like anything else has changed. They are still victims of police brutality, racial profiling and more. The judicial system is not fair. I feel like we have come so far but not far enough.


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 386

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

All we have to do is watch the news each night so see how unfairly people of color are being treated.


Posted Aug. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

Now, schools are integrated by law but because of long established white flight, many inner city schools are largely used by people of color and those people are often living in poverty. There is still the danger of driving while black so that is not so different from what happened to Piedmont. We don’t have actual lynchings but around 20 years ago there was a dragging death of a black man in Jasper Texas. We don’t see the KKK openly but we certainly see and hear plenty from white supremacists. Referring back to the KKK, it was interesting to learn the derivation of the title of this book. So, things change but not really by so much.


Posted Aug. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 24

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

I liked the book but I didn't love it. I didn’t know about the plane crash in 1962 so I did learn a bit of history. However, I learned more by doing my own research. I feel that we have made some slow progress as far as race relations are concerned but I do feel that we have a lot further to go. It would’ve been unheard of to have a black President in the US back in 1962 and I see quite a bit of unforced integration taking place in my community. However, many blacks are still stuck in the inner cities below the poverty level, which is a very hard thing to break out of.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

Things are different but nothing has changed. History is even now repeating itself in the USA related to issues of race and white privilege. One of the biggest takeaways I get from this book is how well the author portrayed white privilege vs. the daily oppression of black America, primarily represented through Piedmont. There are subtleties in the characters and their relationships with each other that Hannah Pittard gets because she's from the American South.


Posted Aug. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 143

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

You want to think that things have changed, improved. However, except for the small gains, I think they are worse. We have the KKK still, killings and a president who is the vilest of all, encouraging such behavior. I think daily how fortunate I have been to be born white.


Posted Aug. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 140

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

Yes, this country continues to make progress, but still needs to make a lot of changes. I agree with swchis39 that the current administration has emboldened people to act on their racist feelings. That has been discouraging and I hope that we can get past that as a country.


Posted Aug. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
garyr

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 33

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

It seems to me that we as a country have taken two steps back, so to speak. White supremacy movements are on the rise, scary time for the country!


Posted Aug. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 381

RE: In 1962, the civil rights movement had already begun, but the country had--and continues to have--a long way to go. What do you feel has changed and what hasn't?

I mentioned this in another book discussion this summer... I have been on a non-fiction craze lately reading about poverty, housing, and criminal justice issues. It is easy for me, as a white person, to look around and say, "yes, we have definitely changed." After reading so much on the topic (and taking a below surface level look), I don't think much has changed at all.

There is a widening income gap, widening home ownership gap, black men are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites for less serious crimes (let's even compare how we dealt with the crack epidemic vs. the opioid epidemic), black jurors are still being disqualified from serving so many black defendants do not have a jury of their peers, there are more black men on death row... When black people tried to assert themselves after the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, for example, many people called for Black Lives Matter to be named a terrorist organization. Many even objected to it just being "black lives". More black men are killed in confrontations with the police than white men--I remember reading in the news comments that people wondered how the El Paso shooter was still alive when Stephon Clark was shot for holding a cellphone... Voting rights??? How many were disenfranchised in Georgia in 2018??? Sorry for going on. This makes me so angry, and I feel so powerless.

When we hear nightly, as many have said, insults coming from the highest office in the country against African Americans, Hispanics, Palestinians, Muslims, women, the poor, and people left behind in inner cities, it is like blanket permission for everyone to talk that way, believe that way, and act on how they are feeling. I feel like we have moved backward as a country. It scares me--it DISGUSTS me-- it embarrasses me- -that senators and representatives elected to represent us would rather protect their own self interests. I don't understand how some of these representatives can look at people of color in their districts and feel proud of their service.

I just hope those of us who recognize that there is still a long way to go are remembering to extend a smile, a touch, whatever we are best able to give, so those still being affected by the policies, acts, and speech of the past and present don't feel so alone.


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