Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 212
Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir in verse written by Jacqueline Woodson. Jackie is born in Ohio in the early 1960s. After a tempestuous marriage, her parents split up and she moves with her mother and siblings to her grandparents’ home in Greenville, South Carolina, where the culture is very different. Racial discrimination and segregation are very prominent in the South, and Jackie and her family experience poor treatment. Still, young Jackie enjoys living with her grandparents. Eventually, her mother moves to New York City to try to establish a new life there, and she later sends for Jackie and her siblings. Jackie is not thrilled about the move, but it is around this time that she decides she wants to be a writer.
The story takes place at a time of great change and turmoil in the United States. Both Jackie’s mother and Jackie’s best friend, Maria, take an interest in activist Angela Davis and the Black Power movement. Despite the Civil Rights Movement, when Jackie visits Greenville she notes that racial segregation still exists in practice, even if it was technically made illegal.
The book ends with Jackie’s teacher encouraging her dreams by telling her she is a writer. This solidifies Jackie’s determination to become one.
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