Item description for Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas...
Overview Celeste Tyree, a black 19-year-old college student, travels to Mississippi to take part in the 1964 summer campaign to register disenfranchised African American voters.
Publishers Description Nineteen-year-old University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree is on a train in the middle of the night, bound for Mississippi in the summer of 1964 - Freedom Summer. Young volunteers from across the country have come to the state to take part in the civil rights movement, helping to organize voter registration projects. Celeste is assigned to work in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years before. Celeste quickly gets to know some of Pineyville's residents, particularly Mrs. Geneva Owens, the deeply religious older widow in whose home she stays. She tutors the town's children in a "freedom school" and becomes close to Sissy Tucker, a bright young girl whose father wants her to have nothing to do with the interloper from the North. But the main focus of her work is to prepare a select few townspeople, led by their well-educated minister, to pass the state's tortuous voting test and defy almost a century of Jim Crow laws designed to exclude the state's "Negro" citizens. Back home in Detroit, Celeste's father, Shuck - bar owner, ex-numbers man, and resident of genteel Outer Drive - is restless while Celeste is in harm's way. Though it was his own "race man" views that shaped his daughter into a movement volunteer, Shuck feels out of step with what he sees happening to Detroit and its increasingly poor Negro population. He spends the summer roaming the city and brooding on the past, especially his failed marriage to Wilamena, Celeste's mother and the love of his life. As the summer unfolds, Pineyville's oppressive heat and isolation magnify the violence that shadows its Negro community. There's no radio, let alone TV, and Celeste has no real confidants except the few other volunteers who come to check in on her project. Among those is Ed Jolivette, a young Louisiana-born veteran of the movement to whom she is immediately and profoundly drawn. Celeste struggles with her loneliness, her fear, her confused feelings about her mother, her uncertainty over whether she can have an effect on Pineyville's beaten-down Negro citizens, and her ambivalence about the doctrine of nonviolence - especially after she sees a male movement volunteer pulled out of their car and given a horrific beating by Mississippi state troopers. When her young friend Sissy goes missing, Celeste and Pineyville's Negro community grapple with the realization that evil can take unanticipated forms. As she prepares her adult students for their showdown with the country registrar, the town's simmering potential for violence comes to a boil. By summer's end, Celeste learns there are no easy answers to the questions that preoccupy her - about violence and nonviolence, about race, identity, and color, and about the strength of love and family bonds.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2005
Publisher Agate Publishing
ISBN 1932841105 ISBN13 9781932841107
Availability 0 units.
More About Denise Nicholas
Denise Nicholas is an actor who starred in the TV series" Room 222" and "In the Heat of the Night, " among many other tv, film, and theatrical productions. "Freshwater Road" is her first novel.
Reviews - What do customers think about Freshwater Road?
Freshwater Road Sep 12, 2007
My book club the Reading on Walden Book Club located in Beverly Hills in Chicago found this book to be excellent and awesome. I am 59 yrs old and was 15 the summer of 1964 and I remember the "Feedom Riders" and the TV coverage. We all found the character development presented by Ms. Nicholas to be superb and so real. I loved Ms Owens and the Reverend . This book reminded me of a screenplay. I sure hope my sister and friend Ms Winfrey has this book on her list and also makes it into a film . Thank you for letting me have my say. Jeanne T.Dougherty , casting director, Reading on Walden Book Club September, 2007.
Good topic, poor writing May 23, 2007
I am amazed at the number of five-star reviews this book has been given, and can only think that it is the power of the subject: a black Ann Arbor student volunteering to go to dangerous Mississippi in the 1964 Freedom Summer trying to register black voters -- or the author's reputation as an actress that is blinding readers to the ineptness of the writing. The book is extremely wordy, extremely repetitious, and lacks humor and subtlety. The author's handling of flashbacks is often very clumsy, as is her amateurish attempt at rendering partial stream of consciousness. The dialogue is often very good as are some of the (usually overdone) images. But this subject matter deserves better writing (and certainly better editing!)
A Masterpiece! Dec 5, 2006
It's hard to believe this could be the debut work of writer Denise Nicholas, it is so magnificently written. Emotionally moving, politically charged, socially important...there are many reasons why you should read this book. In fact, I hope it will be required reading in English and Political Science classes...that is how powerful its message is.
A satisfying and engrossing read from start to finish, and a book to share...to discuss, to remember.
Summer 1964: the personal is political Mar 23, 2006
Freshwater Road conjures the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, Freedom Summer, a turning point in the history of America. In it, a young black, idealistic coed from Detroit comes to a very small town in Mississippi where she tries to develop a "freedom school" for local black children and to register black voters. The book is both a personal journey for Celeste-and an engaging recreation of an important time in the civil rights movement. Although it was less than 40 years ago, many, if not most, Americans do not know about or remember the time when it was actually life threatening to register to vote and where the simple act of drinking out of a water fountain labeled "for whites only" was a major act of rebellion and a challenge to the establishment. The novel is set in a time of political struggle but it is a deeply personal book that addresses the direct and indirect impact of this struggle on the lives of a fascinating group of characters. Nichols brings both Detroit and Freshwater Road in Pineyville, Mississippi to life with all its smells and sounds and multi-dimensional residents. It is a sign of a good book that, when you close the cover, you want to know more about the characters and wonder what happened next. After I finally lay down this page turner, I wanted to know what happened to Celeste, to her family, to Jolivette and the other movement workers and to the people of Pineyville who were all changed by her visit. Too often we think of the civil rights movement in terms of highly publicized moments such as the deaths of Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the dogs of Birmingham or the March on Washington. Freshwater Road reminds us that there were hundreds of small, forgotten but very important dramas that unrolled across the south during this summer. Nichols portrays the complexities and ambiguities of love, race, courage, and family. This is a book where color and place play an important part but it deals with universal themes that resonate across race and geography. For those old enough to remember that fateful summer, it is a vivid and truthful reminder of that time and its impact on individuals and our nation. For those to whom this era is unknown, it provides a window to a different time in America that we should never forget. And it reminds all of us of the power of love and hope.
A True Five Stars Mar 21, 2006
Freshwater Road is warm quicksand you step into on page one that quickly pulls you deeper and deeper into the lives of vibrant people you can't escape. Denise Nicholas' novel transcends time as it sweeps us back into the urgency and immediacy of the civil rights movement. Celest and her other characters are so alive you must remind yourself this is a novel. I'm looking forward to the film.