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"Eddie Russell, a black football star, anticipates enjoying his junior season at Douglass High School south of Memphis, Tennessee, in 1965, but complies with his father Reverend Henry Russell's wishes when local civil rights leaders select Eddie to integrate all-white Forrest High School. Epitomizing resiliency, Eddie; his studious sister, Lakeesha; and two other African-American girls, Lethe and Rochelle; stoically attend classes, experiencing passive racism at first and confronting academic inequities of segregated education when they discover better books and facilities in the white school. Most students either ignore or taunt the black pupils; a teacher washes her hands after touching them, and Eddie's football coach benches him for most of the season. Eddie strives to perceive good in his tormentors. Although the black children's perspectives predominate, reactions of popular white cheerleader, Nancy Martin, depict her tolerance for her new classmates. She befriends the black students, invites them to her home, and attends their church despite her friends' disapproval and rejection. The racism escalates when classmates assault Lakeesha ... testing Eddie's commitment to nonviolence and forgiveness. Based on the author's experiences as a teenager, this complex story explores young adults' experiences on school desegregation's front lines." Children's Literature
- iUniverse, November 2008
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