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The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Oh yeah," Dad interrupted, "they're a laugh a minute down there. Let's see, where was that 'Coloreds Only' bathroom downtown?" (1.36)

One thing's for sure: Momma really misses home. But this comment sheds some light on how Dad feels about Birmingham. It's starting to make sense why he would want to raise his family in Flint instead, don't you think?

Quote #2

"I've often told you that as Negroes the world is many times a hostile place for us." I saw Mr. Alums walking back and forth whacking a yardstick in his hand. "I've pointed out time and time again how vital it is that one be able to read well." (2.18)

Newsflash: race is a big issue out in the real world. Even though it doesn't seem to be affecting most of the kids in Flint now, the adults around them want them to be prepared to face these struggles later in life. How is being able to read well going to help them survive in a prejudiced world?

Quote #3

We'd seen the pictures of a bunch of really mad white people with twisted-up faces screaming and giving dirty finger signs to some little Negro kids who were trying to go to school. I'd seen the pictures but I didn't really know how these white people could hate some kids so much. (8.16)

When you think about it, a lot of the racial violence and discrimination in the book has to do with kids. We tend to think of children as innocent, but it's clear that people with racist beliefs don't think any African American is innocent—not even young kids.

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