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A time to remember

'Sabra, Maude and Maid' -- Flickr Creative Commons image courtesy of Robert of F

If you missed seeing the movie based on Kathryn Stockett's The Help earlier this month at DeMotte, there is another showing Tuesday Jan. 10 at 5:30 the Rensselaer Library and Thursday, Jan. 26 at 10 a.m. at the Wheatfield Library.

This book is also the selection of the month for The Bookies of DeMotte, and you can join in the discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Women are finding this book -- the tale of African-American housemaids and their white employers in 1960's Mississippi -- to be the kind of story you share and share again with your women friends. It is a story of women coming into their own power, fighting a clear evil at a turning point in history, and the story carries the weight of that time period.

A visit to Kathryn Stockett's website shows the high praise this book has received since it was first published in 2008. An internet search will also reveal the controversial response of many readers to a white author writing mostly from the perspective of black women about a racially-charged subject.

But for anyone born after 1968, trying to explain the world that was the Jim Crow south can only be done as a history lesson, which is a good thing. Perhaps The Help is more historical fiction than history, but if it opens people's eyes to a new perspective, and keeps people asking questions about the past, then that's an honorable goal. In the much quoted words of philosopher George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

For a more historical view of the time period, check out the Library of Congress' site devoted to African American History Month, which is celebrated each February.

The lovely image for this post is a family photo called 'Sabra, Maude and Maid' -- a Flickr Creative Commons image courtesy of user 'Robert of Fairfax.'