THE EDUCATION OF A WASP by Lois Mark Stalvey


Email this review


Lois Stalvey's education began in Omaha, Nebraska, in the year 1961 when she and her husband Ben, a high rising young executive in a big company, and their three young children were as insulated, smiling and secure as any savings bank advertisement. At that time she decided it might be a good idea to have a Negro teacher in the school and she made friends with a Negro couple, the Bensons, and promptly was literally blackballed from her sewing club. A little later she joined the Urban League and widened her circle of friends which led to Ben's transfer (a delayed dismissal fulfilled two years later) to Philadelphia. There they deliberately bought a house in a largely Negro area and while she herself was exposed to their initial wary testing techniques, she gradually learned from the inside--the reality of ""Nigger House"" scrawled on the brick of a quiet, self-respecting family's home--or the fact that tram conductors don't stop for Negroes. Followed the Icing hot summer of 1964 which led Mrs. Stalvey into further depressing binds: her distrust of a Black Power militant and his anti-Semitism; the increasing violence (Martin Luther King and also Newark and Detroit): the final irreconcilables ending with her ""there must be a better ending for my country than I see now."" Her book, honestly lived as well as emotionally committed, records the whole decade in terms one cannot possibly escape. Malcolm X once said go ""educate (your) own kind,"" and perhaps her very feeling documentary will do just that. It should be read.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1970
Publisher: Morrow