Patrick D. Smith, award-winning author of A Land Remembered, Forever Island, and other classic novels about Mississippi and Florida, wrote The Beginning in the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights movement. He offered an inside perspective on its effect on the people, both black and white, caught in the upheaval of the changing South. Now a new generation of readers can reassess the times and the decisions of those who lived through them.
Midvale is an imaginary small town in southern Mississippi in the 1960s. Life moves at a pace set by its long, hot summers and dirt-poor economy. The African-Americans know their place and pretty much keep to it in “the quarters," a dilapidated section of town. The whites, mostly merchants and farmers, know their place too, living quiet, family-oriented lives. A reasonably friendly atmosphere prevails in this segregated society. Then Washington begins passing new laws, and a current of unrest ripples through town as a few blacks, for the first time, register to vote. Angry segregationist Sim Hankins demands that Sheriff Ike Thornton do something to stop it. Sheriff Thornton has his own ideas of what should be done to improve race relations: rehabilitation of “the quarters" with indoor bathrooms, new roofs and paint, and paved streets. But his plan triggers violence between those who would keep the old ways and those willing to make a beginning toward the new. Then the outside world arrives in the form of two young white Civil Rights workers determined to start a “freedom school." The resulting violence and bloodshed carry the story to a climax not unlike the 1960s' newspaper headlines.
|Publisher:||Pineapple Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
A native of Mendenhall, Mississippi, Patrick Smith earned both a B.A. and a master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi. He moved to Florida in 1966 and began writing the novels about Florida that would make bring him lifelong recognition: The River Is Home, The Beginning, Forever Island, Angel City, Allapattah, and A Land Remembered. Smith has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize: in 1973 for Forever Island, which was a 1974 selection of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books; in 1978 for Angel City, which was produced as a movie of the week for the CBS television network; and in 1984 for A Land Remembered, which was an Editors’ Choice selection of the New York Times Book Review. In the annual statewide Best of Florida poll conducted by Florida Monthly Magazine, A Land Remembered has been ranked #1 Best Florida Book eight times. In 1985 Smith’s lifetime work was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1999 he was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, which is the highest cultural honor bestowed by the state of Florida. In May 2002 Smith was the recipient of the Florida Historical Society’s Fay Schweim Award as the “Greatest Living Floridian.” The one-time-only award was established to honor the one individual who has contributed the most to Florida in recent history. Additionally, Smith earned the 2012 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing presented by the Florida Humanities Council. The judges felt that “Patrick Smith’s books have been hugely significant to the citizens of Florida . . . [and] that A Land Remembered is an iconic Florida book that has resonated with generations of Floridians in helping people understand the history of this remarkable state.”
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