Three weeks ago, I posted on Facebook the news that my book, They Called Themselves the K.K.K., is being challenged in the Nashville Metro Public Schools.
This week, my book is under review there. A committee of seven will determine its fate.
Authors often say that their books are like children to them, and they’re right. As I raised this book, They Called Themselves the K.K.K., it kept me up at night, made me cry and made me angry, made me worry and made me frustrated, and yet it inspired me and filled me with wonder at the courage of the human spirit.
But now the book is grown, and it must stand on its own. I cannot follow it around and clean up after it or tell it how to act. I can only hope that when my back is turned, it continues to do as it was raised. (And if it’s like its mother, it will be headstrong and curious and . . . well, that’s another blog.)
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, the amazing actor Dion Graham narrated the audio version of They Called Themselves the K.K.K. Over the course of our work together, we had several intense conversations.
We talked about our growing up years. We talked about our children. We talked about writing and acting.
We talked about the need to know and understand history, so that we aren’t surprised when it shows up in our present.
We talked about American history, and how it reveals deep contradictions – times when our actions haven’t lived up to the words of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
We talked about the fact that our history has so many stories that reveal a darker side to our nation’s character – as well as many stories in our history that instill pride, courage, and hope.
During that first phone call, when Dion asked me “What do you hope readers and listeners of this book will take away?” I told him that I wish for this book to shine a light on the dark side of our history. After all, isn’t that how we release its power?