My latest is Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. I love her picture book Show Way (and have used it in retreats), so I’ve been excited about this one for a while. Woodson writes this one in verse, simple yet lovely.
Here’s a favorite piece—I actually used it in my sermon in South Carolina on Sunday about the baptism of Jesus and what it means to be called “beloved.”
Some Fridays, we walk to downtown Greenville where
there are some clothing stores, some restaurants,
a motel and the five-and-dime store but
my grandmother won’t take us
into any of those places anymore.
Even the five-and-dime, which isn’t segregated now
but where a woman is paid, my grandmother says,
to follow colored people around in case they try to
steal something. We don’t go into the restaurants
because they always seat us near the kitchen.
When we go downtown,
we go to the fabric store, where the white woman
knows my grandmother
from back in Anderson, asks,
How’s Gunnar doing and your girls in New York?
She rolls fabric out for my grandmother
to rub between her fingers.
They discuss drape and nap and where to cinch
the waist on a skirt for a child.
At the fabric store, we are not Colored
or Negro. We are not thieves or shameful
or something to be hidden away.
At the fabric store, we’re just people.
What are you reading these days?