Thursday, July 18, 2013
Elizabeth and Hazel
Every once in a while I run across a non-fiction book that is so interesting and so well written that I kinda want to shout it's glory from the rooftops. Well, perhaps not literally. But, figuratively? You betcha!
Elizabeth and Hazel is the biography of the two young women pictured in the most famous photograph of desegregation following the ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka.
David Margolick does a superb job of researching each and every aspect of this story, from the girls' families to their favorite school subjects to the effects of this day (and every other day for the rest of that school year) on both girls. Elizabeth suffers long after this photo is taken and is later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. At the same time, Hazel tries her hardest to repent and overcome the negative persona of her youth forever ingrained in everyone's minds from this photo.
One things that's interesting is that the two women became friends later in life. Sadly, however, the stresses from friends and family on both sides put an enormous hardship on the friendship between the two women. And today they have yet to re-establish that friendship again.
I would highly, highly, highly recommend this book, though at times it can be pretty depressing. There are certain aspects of the United States' past that are far from pretty, but still need telling. And this story, gritty though it may be, is wonderfully written. In fact, I read this book in less than two days because I was so entranced by it. Five out of 5 stars from me! Pick this one up!