What are five major events in One Crazy Summer?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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You will be able to come up with more than five and what I have featured here are simply what I feel are the most important events in the book.

1.  The girls fly out to Oakland: This sets the stage for everything that follows. From the moment the girls land in Oakland and Cecile is apathetic about their arrival,  Delphine embraces the reality of the world her mother has created for herself and for them in Oakland. 

2.  The girls spend majority of their days at the People's Center: I think that spending the amount of time they do at the People's Center has a transformative effect on Delphine and her sisters.  Delphine ends up understanding that the Panthers are more than "angry fist wavers...their rifles ready for shooting."  She and her sisters embrace the Panther teachings, evidenced in the way Delphine stand up for the three of them on the trip to San Francisco.  She does not simply respond to skeptical people's looks with "Yes, Sir."  Instead, when confronted with intolerance, the Black Panther teachings come "pouring out" and she assertively states, "We are citizens and we demand respect."  The time spent at the People's Center changes the girls.

3.  Cecile gets arrested: When their mother is taken in, the girls clean up the mess police made in the house and stumble upon learning more about their mother.  In reading the poem, "I Birthed A Nation," the girls gain insight into their mother and see her more than the one-dimensional revolutionary image she has been projecting. Their decision to read the poem at the rally speaks to the depth of the emerging connection between mother and daughters.

4.  Delphine talks back to her mother: When responding to a scolding from Cecile, Delphine talks back: "I'm only eleven years old, but I do the best I can....I don't just up and leave!"  This event triggers a reflective dialogue in which Cecile speaks to Delphine about the conditions in her life. She does not go into everything but tells her eldest daughter, "Be eleven, Delphine. Be eleven while you can." Delphine understands more about her mother, and is an important development.

5.  "A hug from their mother": When Cecile drops them off at the airport, she waits and watches them instead of turning away. Her gaze involves much, as there is care, affection, melancholy, and a fusion between past, present, and future. As the girls notice her waiting, they rush back to her to get a hug from her. The hug is an important event because it symbolizes the start of a relationship between the three daughters.

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