Angel of Greenwood

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Modern Age

Angel of Greenwood
Author: Pink, Randi
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1921
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: Tulsa Race Massacre, Civil Rights
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2021

American History > Modern Age > African American History

A piercing, unforgettable love story set in Greenwood, Oklahoma, also known as the “Black Wall Street,” and against the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.

Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil.

Though they’ve attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible-toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can’t turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon.

But life changes on May 31, 1921, when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.

Emily's Review

Powerful and beautifully written - I really enjoyed this book.

Angel of Greenwood is a dual perspective novel, following Angel and Isaiah and their growing relationship in 1921. Tulsa, OK is segregated and Greenwood is the black side of town. It's a thriving city, known as Black Wall Street. They pride themselves on being able to self-govern and thrive, despite being segregated. Angel is a dancer, who looks up to Booker T. Washington and believes she was put on earth to help people. Isaiah is a poet, inspired by his hero, WEB du Bois, and he believes they should be fighting for their right to be equal with whites. I loved the poetry, the quotes from both men, and their spirited debates over which was the right way. This story was surprisingly tender and lyrical, considering the content, and I loved that.

I didn't learn about the Tulsa Race Wars until I was an adult, so I think it's fantastic that this is a YA novel. I hope that more people will be able to learn about this ugly event in our not that distant history.

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