Praying for Sheetrock
Research papers that discuss Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene discuss the racial tensions that existed during the novel. Have our writers that are experts in historical literature custom write a review of Praying for Sheetrock or integrate the novel into an research paper.
Racial discrimination is a part of America’s cultural landscape. Although overt segregation and discrimination ended with the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the reality of racial discrimination is that it continues to exist, even today. Melissa Fay Greene’s book, Praying for Sheetrock, is about racial discrimination. When first reading the opening chapter, one almost assumes that the racial tensions that Greene describes are something directly out of the antebellum south. What the reader finds, however, is that racial discrimination, in it most heinous form, continues to exist in McIntosh County, Georgia well into the late 1970s. While individuals across the country were embroiled in debates over civil rights, women’s issues and the War in Vietnam, the people of McIntosh County continued to live in segregated communities, almost untouched by the cultural changes that had swept America during the 1950s and 60s. What Greene reveals in her book is not only disheartening, but in many respects, almost impossible to believe.
The following facts are perhaps the most interesting aspects about the racial tensions that existed in McIntosh County:
- Many of the blacks and whites living in the community at the time knew each other because of their strong ties to their ancestors.
- Many of the whites were directly descended from plantation owners
- Many of the blacks were directly descended from the salves that worked on these plantations.
Greene notes that, “when angry groups of blacks and whites faced each other, everyone would know everyone else’s names and addresses, and know their mamas”. For such a closely related community, it seems almost surprising to find that a majority of black and whites spent their time segregated from one another.
As the civil rights movement began to troupe its way across the nation and Martin Luther King Jr. ultimately took his post as advocate for the civil rights of blacks, the black community of McIntosh became fearful rather than empowered: “Danny and Belle Thorpe, recalled feeling fearful when King and his civil rights movement began stirring things up: ‘We hear the people telling about it and all…and we didn’t know how things was coming out’”. The black community had been so oppressed by the whites that they ultimately saw the civil rights movement as a bane rather than the opportunity to move ahead. Greene notes that when King was assassinated, much of the African American community mourned his death, but many were relieved that things would go back to normal.
Uninspired to take charge of their own community, the blacks in McIntosh lived quietly alongside the whites. Greene notes that the black community existed simultaneously with the whites, but neither wanted anything to do with the other . Greene goes on to reveal that the only white interested I black activities was the sheriff.