Black Hearts White Minds
Mission Possible Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (10/18)
For me as a reviewer, few books delve deep into my heart and soul and never leave. “Black Hearts White Minds” by Mitch Margo is one of these books. America in the 1960s was a time of strife with Klansmen, lynching’s, and second-class citizens who were treated worse than dogs. It breaks my heart that human beings based on color were subjected to inhumane treatment and we still see this in some form today.
Set in Stockville, Alabama in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement one finds an all-white, no-blacks-allowed environment where just having a strange look on your face will lead to a beating or lynching. Northwoods, an exclusive, rich, so-called God-fearing respectable neighborhood will do everything and anything to keep blacks out of their subdivision. Northwoods reminds me of one such place in Virginia near where I lived that maybe had one black family living there yet touted the community was a great place to live and work for all.
Margo’s excellent narrative is thought-provoking and touches on historical events that show the impact of Jim Crow, racism, and segregation on society as a whole. Through his powerful characters he is able to capture the human spirit in raw form.
“Black Hearts White Minds” reminds me of growing up in Arkansas in the late 50s. In those days I remember my mother calling them “colored.” We were often told not to get friendly with them or go out of our way to help them in any way. However, just like in this story, my father did not accept that same philosophy and would be friends with anyone and everyone, regardless of color and had no qualms standing up for anyone who was mistreated.
Carl Gordon, a New York Assistant U.S. Attorney, uproots his son to Stockville, Alabama where he is to monitor and enforce the Civil Rights “We don’t need a big city lawyer to help, we do it our way” attitude. Carl meets the Geary family whose mother has inherited a mansion in the all-white, race-restricted neighborhood of Northwoods and chooses to represent her in a deadly legal battle.
Although this is historical fiction one will be drawn in as if they are living the story. The characters come to life as the author provides in-depth descriptions of events and time.
I highly recommend “Black Hearts White Minds” by Mitch Margo to anyone who is willing to look at racism and the impact it still has on society today and how we must continue to fight for equal treatment of all.