Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 606

In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Brown Girl Dreaming Study Guide

Subscribe Now

is planning a march on Washington, where

John F. Kennedy is president.

In Harlem, Malcolm X is standing on a soapbox

talking about a revolution.

The author, Jacqueline Woodson, was born on February 12, 1963. The quote above explains the significance of Woodson's birth date: she was born at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

The mentions of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and President Kennedy are powerful reminders of our country's history.

President Kennedy died after he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. However, prior to his death, Kennedy was an avid supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. It was Kennedy who initially proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He did this in June. However, Kennedy died without seeing the fruits of his labors.

In August 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have A Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Meanwhile, Malcolm X, an African American civil rights leader, made his "Message to the Grassroots" speech on November 13th, 1963 at the Detroit Council Leadership Conference. Weeks after the conference, President Kennedy was assassinated. Malcolm X himself was assassinated on February 21, 1965. So, Woodson was born at a time of turmoil and at the very height of the Civil Rights Movement.

My father's family

can trace their history back

to Thomas Woodson of Chillicothe, said to be

the first son

of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

some say

this isn't so but . . .

The above quote mentions an important historical figure, Thomas Woodson. Sally Hemings was said to have had six children with Thomas Jefferson. However, Thomas is not included in the list of legal children. Today, descendants of Thomas Woodson maintain that there is evidence for Thomas' connection to Hemings and Jefferson. They cite evidence from their family's strong oral history.

According to the history, Thomas was Sally's first child with Jefferson. Reports are that he was sent away from Monticello in his youth. Please refer to the link above for more discussions about Thomas Woodson.

In Brown Girl Dreaming , the mention of Thomas Woodson is significant. The author believes that Thomas was responsible for the success many members of her family have enjoyed. It was said that Thomas believed in high standards when he was alive. Today, the author is proud of the long line of...

(The entire section contains 606 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Brown Girl Dreaming study guide. You'll get access to all of the Brown Girl Dreaming content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Analysis
  • Quotes
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial


Explore Study Guides