A gripping true story of a young boy who lives through the racial tensions and violence that surrounded the murder of Henry Marrow, a 23 year old victim of a hate crime in Oxford, North Carolina on May 11, 1970.  Four months later, the three perpetrators were found not guilty by an all white jury.  Tyson’s recounting of what takes place in the aftermath is riveting.  His in depth research and interviews with the murderers and the subsequent black power militants help to put faces on this tragedy.   Tyson also does a good job of encouraging the reader/listener to confront his/her own indifference to issues of race in America.

Tyson’s musings point to the continued racial divide in this country when it comes to the social programs that could lift the poorest parts of this country out of the depths of despair.  Saying that it remains easier for us to apologize for the past than to address slavery’s lingering impact on our society.

Quoting many writers and poets he finishes the book with a five minute summation that is eye opening and seething with calls to action.  Saying that those who do not want to confront the issues of race in America might want to move to a different planet pointing out that, “no one should under estimate the venom of ancient wrongs.”  He leaves us with a quote from Charles Chestnut, a storyteller who wrote over a century ago, “There’s time enough, but none to spare.”  I’d say that November’s election was a step in the right direction but the work is far from over.

This is a great read.  I recommend it.