HE CALLED THEM BY THE LIGHTNING by Lura Beam

HE CALLED THEM BY THE LIGHTNING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lura Beam went south to teach in 1908 at the age of twenty-one in an American Missionary Association high school, later at a normal school, set up to bring higher education to Negroes, whose public schooling at the time ended with the seventh grade. For the Negroes it was a period of ""lost hopes,"" when progress seemed slowed and resistance to the ""Southern complusion"" was for the most part submerged. Miss Beam's students were among the movers, the talented tenth who aimed to go to college and to advance the race. Through her students and their families, she learned a great deal about the Negroes of that time; she attended the ceremonials of death and listened to the rhythm of life--music; witnessed the celebration of Emancipation Day by freedmen, the twice-born. Her story reaches back to slavery, up to 1919, when she had come to a time where she so identified herself with the Negroes and their hard, humiliating life, that she thought ""too much about mere endurance,"" realized she must move on to a new, less tragic, experience. But the influence remained.... An unusual, even exceptional recall, poetic in insights and expression, of a time which has receded and been little remembered.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1967
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill