Panhandle Dreams

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Writer's Showcase, 2002 - Fiction - 360 pages
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Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful “I Have a Dream” speech gained greater notoriety after his untimely death in the sixties. Millions of black Americans were motivated to grab a piece of King’s dream despite not knowing how to make it a reality. The novel Dream in the Panhandle paraphrases King’s famous speech to illuminate the complexities involved in a society’s movement toward equality. The story told through the writings of twelve-year-old Indigo Douglas is set in racially segregated Tallahassee, Florida the day after the news of King’s assassination came across the radio waves. Indigo’s parents' reaction to King’s death causes her to look beyond the world of her close–knit colored community to examine the lives of whites for the first time. Her examination begins with the affluent Whittner family who is her Aunt Sadie’s employer. As the nation grieves, deeply held family secrets are revealed and trigger chaos within the Douglas and Whittner families forcing them to see their commonality as well as their differences. Indigo’s father goes to prison as a result of his pro-King activism. Mr. Whittner risks his wealth as he reveals his Jewish heritage. Indigo’s mother embraces her previously unacknowledged bi-racial identity, while Mrs. Whittner remains vehemently intolerant. The contradictions between race, culture and power in this “coming of age story” become the canvas for Indigo to sketch a new generation’s concept of “King’s dream”.

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