Overdue Read: The Darkest Child
My television sits above my bookcase. So, I’m forced to look directly above the Morrison, Butler, and Hurston books to watch foolishness like The Bad Girls Club and Hair Battle Spectacular. Watching people curse each other out on the new season of Real Housewives of Atlanta finally made me say no more.
Instead of selecting one of the unread books that I already own, I decided to purchase a book I’ve wanted to read for awhile. It’s a shame that I waited so long. More on the book:
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips – Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Yet everyone in her small Georgia town knows. Rozelle’s ten children (by ten different daddies) are mostly light, too. They sleep on the floor in her drafty, rickety three-room shack and live in fear of her moods and temper. But they are all vital to her. They occupy the only world she rules and controls. They multiply her power in an otherwise cruel and uncaring universe.
Rozelle favors her light-skinned kids, but insists that they all love and obey her unquestioningly. Tangy Mae, thirteen, is her brightest but darkest-complected child. Tangy wants desperately to continue with her education. Shockingly, the highest court in the land has just ruled that Negroes may go to school with whites. Her mother, however, has other plans. Rozelle wants her daughter to work, cleaning houses for whites, like she does, and accompany her to the “Farmhouse,” where Rozelle earns extra money bedding men. Tangy Mae, she’s decided, is of age. This is the story from an era when life’s possibilities for an African-American were unimaginably different.
PAKERSFIELD, GEORGIA 1958 – Mama washed the last dish she ever intended to wash. I alone witnessed the event, in silence. It was on a Friday-a school day-but instead of sitting in a classroom, I was standing in unfamiliar surroundings, the home of my mother’s employers, stunned by the wealth around me. As I regarded my mother through unwavering peripheral vision, something in her glances at me seemed to say, “Tangy Mae, this will be your life. Grab an apron and enjoy it.” (Read more . . . )
I wonder how fast I can finish this one. Happy reading, y’all!