Study Guide

M.C. Higgins, the Great Prejudice

By Virginia Hamilton

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M.C. Higgins and his family are black, and their ancestors come from a legacy of slavery. So you would think that M.C. Higgins, the Great might be all about prejudice against black people… but it's not. In fact, it's all about M.C. and his family learning major lessons about how bigoted and prejudiced they can be to people who are different and outside of their family unit. In this book, race hovers on the margins as a dividing issue, while other forms of prejudice— physical, religious, and philosophical differences—take center stage.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. How does Lurhetta Outlaw influence the way we think about prejudice in the novel?
  2. Why are the Higgins prejudiced against the Killburns?
  3. Are the Killburns also prejudiced against the Higgins or are they more welcoming? 
  4. Why is it significant that Ben and M.C. are friends?

Chew on This

The Higgins family's legacy of slavery makes their propensity for prejudice less forgivable—they should know better.

The Higgins family's legacy of slavery has taught them to tend to their own and keep to themselves in order to be safe, so their prejudiced behavior actually comes from an understandable survival instinct.

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