The Secret of Magic {#giveaway}

by NancyT

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The Help (linked to Jennifer’s review on 5 Minutes for Books) brought to light issues of class and race in Mississippi during the time of Jim Crow.  Segregation was a very real part of recent history in the South, and as someone born and raised in the North, it still shocks me how black Americans were treated not so long ago.  The Secret of Magic brings together the idealism of blacks in the North with Southern traditions and segregation.

Joe Howard Wilson has just returned from fighting in Italy, a decorated soldier who lost his best friend in World War II. The bus he is riding to his home in Revere, Mississippi is boarded by a man who demands that the blacks give up their seats for German POWs.  Furious at this treatment at the behest of the enemy, Joe Howard refuses to leave the bus, and ends up dead for his troubles.

Regina Robichard is a young black lawyer working her dream job for Thurgood Marshall at the Negro Defense Fund in New York City. She intercepts a letter meant for Marshall, written by one M.P. Calhoun, requesting an investigation into Joe Howard’s death on behalf of Joe Howard’s father, Willie Willie. Ms. Calhoun is the famous reclusive author of a children’s book, also called The Secret of Magic, a book that Regina loved as a child, so Regina convinces Marshall to let her spend two weeks in Revere to see if she can bring justice to Joe Howard’s family.

Regina is not surprised that she has to move to the rear of the train or use separate restrooms, but she does not expect the separation between whites and blacks to be as large as it is.  She’s also surprised that most of the residents of Revere not only know what happened to Joe Howard, they accept it as part of the way of life.  Regina’s attempts to obtain information are blocked from many directions but she doesn’t give up.  The racism she encounters also dredge up issues from her own past, but the strong values instilled by her mother enable her to work through her own personal issues while continuing to seek justice for Joe Howard.

The Secret of Magic novel is a stark reminder of how far we’ve come, yet we still have a lot of ground to cover before race relations are no longer an issue.  

This novel is a good tie-in to Black History Month and an important read for everyone.

Win it!

Enter to win the giveaway below by following the instructions in the widget below, starting off by leaving a comment telling me your most memorable book or movie experience in regards to Black History.



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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen Lynch February 10, 2014 at 9:56 am

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

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2 Deedee February 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

The Help – and The Butler. Both were eye opening for me!

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3 rhonda February 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

The Help an eye opener!

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4 Katherine I. February 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger.

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5 anne February 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

The Widow From The South.

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6 Marti Tabora February 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I think that would have to be The Help, it was really a great read. Thank you.

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7 Daniel M February 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

recently watched the butler

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8 Heather B February 11, 2014 at 9:09 am

Definitely The Help

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9 Nancy February 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

I’d say the book The Help.

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10 Jeanna February 11, 2014 at 10:07 am

I really enjoyed The Help. My son’s class has been reading Addie The American Girl & he is really enjoying that book.

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11 Randalyn February 12, 2014 at 8:07 am

The help. Definitely an eye opener.

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12 LindaStewart February 12, 2014 at 9:37 am

The Help or maybe The Color Purple

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13 Shannon G February 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I would say Lean on Me with Morgan Freeman.

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14 Marya February 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
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15 Tara February 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm

To Kill a Mockingbird

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16 Linda Kish February 12, 2014 at 11:13 pm

The Help. But, I think I learned more by living during that time.

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17 letessha February 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

Glory is the movie I can remember regarding race relations.

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18 Kristina February 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

One movie that was eye opening was The Help!

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19 Bonnie Way February 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I LOVED The Help (we saw the movie). It was soooo good! Another book I’ve enjoyed is Passing By Samaria which talks about the race riots in Chicago. And All the Way Home talks about the internment of Japanese citizens in America during WW2 – another good read. :)
Bonnie Way recently posted..Me and My GlassesMy Profile

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20 Jodi February 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm

The Help! The movie was good, but the book is way better!
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21 Susan P. February 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

The Help and To Kill a Mockingbird

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22 Trish F February 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm

The mini series Roots was well done and definitely a subject of race.
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23 Debbie Welchert February 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I’d have to say the movie The Color Purple.

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24 nannypanpan February 15, 2014 at 8:27 pm
25 danielle February 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

The help was a great movie!

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26 DEBIJOT February 15, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I think for me it was Lillies of the Field with Sidney Poiter.

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27 Janice Cooper February 16, 2014 at 9:01 am

I would say Color Purple and Hotel Rwanda

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28 Christine February 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

The Help and the color purple

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29 maggie February 16, 2014 at 10:21 am

I believe the butler

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30 Zoe February 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

The movie Guess Who’s COming to Dinner is a movie I will never forget!

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31 vickie couturier February 16, 2014 at 5:35 pm

to kill a mockingbird

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32 Dana February 16, 2014 at 11:21 pm

the miniseries Roots

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33 Dawn Monroe February 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm

My pick would be Glory but Sounder is a great eye opener also.

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34 Jenny Q. February 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm

The Color Purple

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35 ASHLEY COSSETTE February 17, 2014 at 10:44 pm

i asboolutely loved the blind side!

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36 Karla T February 18, 2014 at 9:16 am

The Help was a great book

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37 brittany laws February 18, 2014 at 6:12 pm

the blind side!

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38 Darlene Schuller February 19, 2014 at 8:32 am

The Green Mile

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39 JENNIFER HART February 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

The novel “Power of One”

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40 MCGmandy February 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Secret Life of Bees

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41 Kim Tanti February 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Roots. WOW every one should watch that one.

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42 Corey Olomon February 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Ghosts of Mississippi

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43 Caralyn Rubli February 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm

John Waters’ Hairspray!

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44 Gayle S February 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm

A movie that was so powerful it will forever be one I think about in regards to race relations is Roots. I loved it!

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45 liz l February 19, 2014 at 11:28 pm

To kill a mockingbird

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46 Rachel Cartwright February 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm

The Help was really fantastic.

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47 Teresa Thompson February 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

The Help was amazing.

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48 Nannypanpan February 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Entered on grace

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49 Danielle Jones February 22, 2014 at 8:40 am

The Help is the most recent movie dealing with race relations that I have watched.

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50 Pamela j February 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

To kill a mockingbird.

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51 Pamela j February 22, 2014 at 8:42 am

i entered the hungry, hungry catapiller book giveaway.

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52 Tammy H February 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

I would say The Help

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53 Annmarie W. February 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

I still haven’t read or seen the Help, but I hear it’s great. I really liked Driving Miss Daisy…would that count?

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54 Annmarie W. February 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

I entered your Hungry Caterpillar giveaway!

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55 Diana Hatch February 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

I also like The Help

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56 Ashley Fryer February 22, 2014 at 10:31 am

A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

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57 Lt February 22, 2014 at 11:46 am

The Widow From The South.

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58 jeremy mclaughlin February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

My wife liked The Help

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59 Nancy February 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I entered the Pioneer Girl book giveaway.

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60 Jenny February 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

To Kill a Mockingbird

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61 Ronda February 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm

The Help, very good.

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