Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North

Where should I start? I guess I could say that this book is for 4th to 6th graders. And that the main character in an African American girl named Nellie.

Nellie looks like (I mean no offense by using the following term) a white girl because her skin is so light and people often mistake her as one.

Nellie wishes she looked more like her older sister, whose skin is very dark, because she loves her.

Nellie and her family face much discrimination and evil in Tennessee; it is 1919 after all. But they’re used to it.

What I think tips them all off the edge is when their Uncle Pace (according to the sheriff) gets drunk and hit by a train and dies. It’s pretty obviously this didn’t happen on account:

a) Pace never touched alcohol in his entire life.

b) He’s African American, which leaves him (in the people’s eyes) a target of discrimination. Probably *hint hint, wink wink* someone did something to him.

After spending some final moments with her uncle, Nellie’s sister stops talking.

Nellie’s parents take her sister, Erma Jean, to a hospital care center and then their father makes the announcement:

“We’re moving to Chicago, kids!”

Okay, it didn’t sound EXACTLY like that but I’m sure that by quoting from the book I’d be breaking some sort of copyright infringement law.

Nellie and her entire family are hopeful. They think that the North will be much more accepting of who they are, but instead discrimination might actually be worse!

The only difference is that the people in Chicago stand up for their rights and the people in Tennessee don’t.

In Color Me Dark you get to see Nellie’s diary, which is pretty cool. I think it helps you understand what it was like to live in a world of discrimination even worse than today’s!

Five stars, definitely!

Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North

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