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21 June 2015

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is the story of integration in a Virginia high school in 1959. The story is told in two perspectives - Sarah, one of the ten black students going to the white school, and Linda, a white student whose father is the voice of the town paper and the segregationists.

In February of 1959, the town of Davisburg could no longer postpone allowing black students into the white high school. The mayor had closed the school to prevent integration, but by court order school had to be reopened. Ten of the top honor students from Johns High School transferred to Jefferson High School.

Sarah, a senior, along with nine others had to push their way through the protesting white students to enter the school. From there they were to spend each day being pummeled by spit balls, call names, tripped and when they sat down in class having the white students move away from them. Sarah is put into remedial classes due to the prejudice of the school staff.

Linda has never thought about how the blacks are treated. It has just always been that way in Virginia. When she meets Sarah and sees how she and the other students are treated, she begins to consider whether it is right.

Talley has written a moving story of part of our county's history. Though the school and characters are fictional, they represent real accounts of what lengths racists went to try to prevent integration. There were areas that didn't give in until twenty years after Brown v. Board of Education. This novel is an important reminder of the people who fought to give us the civil rights we have today. It is amazing - read it today.

Talley, Robin. (2014). Lies We Tell Ourselves. New York: Harlequin Teen.

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