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Houston, Julian. New Boy.

HOUSTON, Julian. New boy. Houghton Mifflin. 288p. c2005.0-618-432531. $16.00. JS

Rob, age 16, has left Virginia to come to Draper, a Connecticut boarding school, to get the kind of education denied to African Americans in the segregated South of the late 1950s. A bright but sheltered boy, he is the first student of color at Draper, and the year is an education for him in all kinds of ways. Rob sees an acne-ridden Italian American classmate bullied and ostracized by the "cruel snobs" at school, visits Harlem and a jazz club, and gradually becomes more aware of the pervasiveness of prejudice. As the civil rights movement gains strength among young black people in the South, Rob and his friends back home help organize a sit-in at a Virginia Woolworth's lunch counter that won't serve African Americans, a protest that turns violent. Caught between two very different worlds, Rob learns to speak out against bigotry and segregation. The author, now an Associate Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, also grew up in Virginia and then attended a Connecticut school, and he was "a community organizer in Harlem during the civil rights movement," according to the book jacket. His novel is a convincing portrayal of a pivotal era in American history, as seen through the eyes of a sympathetic young protagonist. Coleman Hawkins, Malcolm X, and Joe Louis feature as minor characters; there's some strong language, for those who need to know. This would be a valuable accompaniment to any study of the civil rights movement. Paula Rohrlick, KLIATT
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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