A group of enthusiastic eighth graders filled the Durham School of the Arts Media Center, eagerly awaiting author Kekla Magoon to appear on the television screen.
DSA students from the African American Male Book Club, made possible by a Doing Good in the Neighborhood grant, as well as two other DSA classes had read The Rock and the River during the past few weeks. Now Magoon was about to visit the students via Skype, and they would get a chance to ask her questions about her first novel.
When Magoon’s face appeared on the screen, the students rushed to ask their own questions about the racially charged novel.
“Why did you make Sam struggle between his father and brother?” asked one eighth grader, as the rest sat on the edge of their seats.
“I myself know what it feels like to struggle between identities,” Magoon said as she informed the students of her childhood growing up in Indiana as a bi-racial child.
Magoon said she was inspired to write the award-winning novel because of her own personal interest in the civil rights movement. She said her mother and father both were heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s and 1970s.
The late bell rang for fifth period, and students were cut off by instructors as they tried to ask more questions.
One student managed to make his way past teachers to ask, “Can we make this into a play in the Fall?”
Magoon smiled as she answered, “Let’s see what we can do.”