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I Love You Maggie  by Phillip Good


John Kennedy was President when five young men, one of them white, sat in at a downtown New Orleans lunch counter. The same five sat in at the Tulane University cafeteria three months later. The University didn't change its "whites only" policy, nor did Woolworth's, but in May 1961, the Parish School Board announced they would open the Orleans public school system "a grade at a time" to children of all races.

Wood came to New Orleans on his motorcycle looking for adventure. The first night, he crashed a hotel wedding reception, hustled a Bourbon Street strip joint, was swept up in a police raid, got a part-time job as an animal caretaker, and met the women of his dreams--all three of them.

For a quarter of a century, Professor Mason lived in New Orleans hiding from life. All he wanted was to protect his daughters, though he didn't know how to begin. For Mason as well as Wood, the integration movement is an intrusion, at best scenery glimpsed from a passing train. For Barcus, a long-time political operative, the sit-ins represent opportunity, a chance to serve as a well-paid "consultant" and to bestow patronage. His friendship with Leonard Zellner, the white boy who sat in among the blacks, was an explainable embarrassment. His pursuit of Little Hamilton, a biological imperative. But when Leonard's life is threatened and Little Hamilton thrown in jail, Barcus has to choose. Projected on the proscenium of this novel of character development are a sit-in at a five and dime, a meeting of the Congress on Racial Equality, students lounging about the Tulane Cafeteria, Leander Perez lecturing at the Civic Auditorium, a Citizen's Council fund raiser in the Garden District, and Wood and Maggie in the back seat of a borrowed car.

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Rating: Parental Guidance                                  

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