Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the Deep Heart’s Core (copy)

I was pulled aside before the discussion meeting on the book "In the Deep Heart's Core" by Michael Johnston. The book club member wanted to point out the specifics of the title.

First she read aloud the passage from W.B. Yeats:

"I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core."

She then followed with the quote from a Delta Native:

"If Mississippi is the heart of the Deep South,
Then the Mississippi Delta is the deep heart's core."

I agreed whole-heartedly! I would go even farther to say the South is really the heart of America! Unfortunately, there is a problem with the ole ticker. In the "deep heart's core" of Greenville lives some ugly plaque that has slowed the flow of blood to the extremities of the body of our state and our nation. People in the area have eaten a little too much racism, dined on ignorance and snacked on poverty to the point of stroke.

This is according to the book if one follows the logic. I blame no one, certainly, not the fine folks of Greenville. White flight has occurred in cities and towns all over the south and north. I am left wondering how to fix the problem. How do we place our heart on a diet and exercise routine and bring it back to a healthy pink condition?

It takes a man like author Michael Johnston to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Johnston was a fresh graduate of Yale Law School when he signed up for the Teach America program. He left his native Colorado for the south and in 1997 began teaching at Greenville High School.

In the first chapter he recalls talking to a couple of ladies while looking for a house. They asked him what he would be teaching and he told them English. This was met with a burst of laughter. One lady said, "You know that's a foreign language down here!"

He persisted and entered into the hearts of many of his students through poetry and chess. I encourage you to read this book and hand it to others. It is time we get the blood pumping.


sage said...

I remember Amtrak stopping in Greenville and me getting barbecue from a joint next to the tracks! Sounds like an interesting book

maggie moran said...

How long ago was that Sage?

Bookfool said...

That sounds awesome. And, Maggie, just in case you didn't realize it nomer, at left, has left this same spam on more than one post. You might want to moderate your posts until they quit trying to use your blog to advertise, if that's what they're doing.

maggie moran said...

Hey thx Bookfool! It is a good book! ;D

Anonymous said...

This is not my type of books at all, but you've intrigued me. I need to get my blood pumping :) Adding it to my list.

Sharon said...

This does sound interesting. I'm going to put it on my wish list.

maggie moran said...

Stacy - you are silly! The book has great insight to our way of life down here.

Sharon - Know anyone who wants to give a little time to teach our children? Beware though, they might fall in love with this place - blight and all! ;)

Anonymous said...

I despise the "white flight" comment! It is a "worker flight" those that wanted to work and achieve more left and that knew/knows no color boundary. This is the tale of what entitlement programs make. When you receive without work you do not see a need in work or appreciate property. Learning is work. The other bit of flight was business owners who could not sell their products to the declining work force. So what's left? Those on Welfare, so business that accept WIC or EBT are all that is left. The other bit of decline can be attributed to the casinos. If you'd like to go even further back in history it all began with Carter's grain embargo.