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Although we thought the Civil War would solve our problems, the white supremacists didn't want them solved so we still had to suffer with lynchings. The hateful people thought the negro was subhuman and that the only thing any black man wanted was to rape a white woman and the only recourse was to lynch every black male. Booker T. Washington thought patience was the answer, but we had waited long enough. The visionary W.E. B. DuBois (yes, I wish we were related) continued to urge legislation till we finally achieved two new Constitutional amendments and President Lyndon Johnson finally signed the emancipation. The slaves were free and could vote!

Henry Lewis Gates, Jr; tells the whole story in "Stony the Road": Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow.

"Earning the Rockies" How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World, by Robert D. Kaplan is an unusual history book. It is full of quotable sentences such as "The Great Plains helped us recover from slavery because we couldn't grow cotton there." and having our rivers run North to south made our nation unified and "we have to rule the world because no one else has the resources" and he praises Bernard DeVoto and Wallace Stegner, other Western writers and admirers.

"The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" by Arunhati Roy, set in Pakistan, is difficult to understand at first, about a little boy who wishes he were a girl. His family pampers him, letting him wear dresses and jewelry. But the second half of the book is much better, about the conflict between India and Pakistan. A man and woman who had known each other for years finally fell in love when they were involved in intrigue. She is secretly installed in a boat that he is master of, so they have a weekend together before the police notice. They are both caught but not tortured, wo we can believe the title after all. The author won the British Booker Prize with her earlier novel, but I don't think she succeeded with this one.

The Young Adult novel for this month is "Skinny." by Donna Cooner, about an obese high school girl who had finally tired of all the teasing. Her father assured her that he loves her regardless (the mother has died) but she has signed up for the surgery. When she begins to lose a lot, the popular girls befriend her and the most popular sort of adopts her and coaches her. At last the boy she had always wanted to date asks her to a dance, but something is wrong? Her half-sister lectures her, and she realizes she has been ignoring her best friend, a boy who promised their mother that he would watch out for her; then she makes friends with her half- sister, and everybody is happy.