The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis

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Introduction Christopher Paul Curtis wrote The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 throughout the course of 1995. The novel follows the Watsons, a black family living in Flint, Michigan during the Civil Rights Era. In a historical context, 1963 and the early 1990s have far more in common than one would expect. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 following the church bombing in Birmingham, and yet race-based discrimination remains a problem even in our modern society via passive racism. This paper will analyze the ways in which Curtis’ The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 draws parallels between the time in which his is writing during and the time in which he is writing about. This analysis will also shed light on what can be called the “white standard,” wherein all things white are “good” or “better” and anything not-white is “bad.” Important Events of the Early 1990s—USA Despite the passing of the Civil Rights Act and Affirmative Action, racism evolved from the blatant discrimination of the 1960s like segregation, to the slightly more passive racism of the 1990s such as unfair arrests/jail time (Taylor). Curtis’ writes three decades after the aforementioned progress and yet, looking back on the 90s, there is an alarming amount of similarities between the two. A timeline of the 90s features similar white on black hate discrimination as found in The Watsons. In 1991, Rodney King was brutally beaten by white LAPD officers following a car chase. 1993 saw members of the Fourth Reich Skinheads, who attempted to bomb a church in Los Angeles and kill Rodney King, get arrested for their plots (Ross). The year 1993 also featured the release of the very first black American Girl doll; her name was Addy Walker. This first doll was depicted ... ... middle of paper ... ... York Times, 14 Jan. 1995. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. . Ross, Loretta. "White Supremacy in the 1990s." PublicEye.org. Political Research Associates, 1995. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. . Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. "Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs: Racism in America Today."International Socialist Review Online November-December.32 (2003): n. pag.ISReview.org. International Socialist Organization. Web. 07 Dec. 2013. . XOJANE. "I Secretly Hated My “Addy” American Girl Doll — Why Did The First Black Doll This Company Made Have To Be A Slave?" Clutch. Clutch Magazine Online, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. .

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