How Did JuneBug Rise Above the Limitations of Jim Crow to Find Success on His Own Terms?
One bright summer morning in rural Redwood, Mississippi, eight-year-old JuneBug was excited to go fishing with Aunt Emma. She loved to tell stories and he loved to listen.
He didn’t want to mention his fear of snakes or that he got real bored waiting on fish because it was such a treat to have this special time with his favorite aunt. She often shared words of wisdom that he knew were meant especially for him.
After they climbed the hill to the fishing hole behind his parents’ home and they settled down on the bank of the watering hole, Aunt Emma started talking as if she’d read his mind. “You don’t have to worry about being afraid of snakes or getting fidgety waiting for the fish to come. It’s only natural to have some fears.
Then she leaned in and said, “The important thing is not to let things like worrying about fears get in the way of your goals. Remember this: As you grow up, do not let being black hold you back. You must muster the strength to overcome racial taunts and prejudice. Do not become a victim and complete your education”.
Aunt Emma’s message stuck with JuneBug from Kings Elementary to his graduation from Rosa A Temple High School. It became a voice in his head all the way through his academic life and professional career.
Full of humor and heartache, JuneBug shows one young person’s journey to self-worth despite the onslaught of negative messages that come at him from all sides. Young readers will follow JuneBug’s exploits with his friends, the loss of his mother, and his struggles with systemic racism. Throughout his experiences, JuneBug learns to use his head, his humor, and his heart. Middle grade readers will relate to JuneBug as a peer but will also have their eyes opened to the evils of segregation.
JuneBug’s Journey: How He Earned Four Degrees After Attended Poorly Funded School in Rural Mississippi.
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