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Critical Content

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

The Land was received as a worthy addition to the Logan saga. Most critics viewed it as a substantial addition to the multigenerational story and as a novel that stands in its own right. The novel received the Scott O’Dell Historical Award in 2002. Taylor began writing in response to her feeling that school texts neglected the “true” story of African American struggles. She relied on her own family’s stories, which related the actual history of personal racial struggles in a country still adjusting to the end of slavery, to desegregation, and to the Civil Rights movement. The Land is based on the experience both of Taylor’s great-grandfather and of the author herself. Each engaged in monumental struggles to obtain land and, through it, independence. Taylor also has indicated that she hopes her books present a real and valid picture of African American history for both races. She believes that African Americans cannot hide from the past and must realize that “black people were second-class citizens in the past and had to react in a certain way just to survive.”