Monday, October 7, 2019


Until I read The Last Thing You Surrender by Leonard Pitts, I never realized the depth and degradation of Jim Crow.  Pitts has skillfully crafted a novel describing the futility of Negro existence under the Nazi-like laws of Alabama, which prohibit the misogyny of the blacks with whites and the contempt of the whites for the Negro. When George Simon, a white Marine from Mobile, is trapped in his ship in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack, Gordy saves a black mess man who dies in the effort. George is returned to Mobile and visits Thelma, Gordy’s widow hoping to console and explain the details. Rejected initially by Thelma, we read how definitive changes occur in both.  The novel describes in gruesome detail the lynching of Thelma’s parents and horrible battle scenes in both the Pacific and European theaters of war where Negro units distinguish themselves by their bravery. Most of all the author describes the hate, mistrust, and contempt between the races. Although desegregation and the Negro rights movement would not begin for another 10 years, the idea was brewing in the minds of a few Southern whites.

This book is truly a page-turner, and I highly recommend it.