In 1970s Jim Crow-era Mississippi, a young Black boy with an abusive father and a defiant Black lawyer find themselves entangled in the murder of a wealthy white plantation owner. The duo must seek the truth in the face of the white supremacist retribution it unleashes. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD meets THE HATE U GIVE.
It was the summer of 1970 in the small town of Quentin, Mississippi. On a particular Saturday afternoon, clouds as white and fluffy as the cotton in the fields drifted across an azure sky. Spiky grass, thick in some places, sparse in others, tickled my toes. My sister, Josephine, and I had been playing kickball in our front yard. School had ended, and I was still excited about being promoted to the fifth grade. It was the perfect day.
Until it wasn’t.
I kicked the ball hard and watched it skitter past Jo. Hearing a rumble, I whirled around in time to see Momma and Daddy tumble through our screen door, entangled in a fierce struggle. Blood trickled from Momma’s nose, and fear registered in her eyes. My heart pounded so hard I thought it would explode in my chest. I tried to run to her, to help her. But my feet felt as though they were plunged deep into a bucket of clay.
“Woman, you gone do what I told you!” Daddy landed a hard backhand across Momma’s face. She staggered back then crumpled to her knees. Like a panther, Daddy pounced on her. His meaty dark fingers clamped tight around her neck. Gasping for air, Momma kicked and clawed vigorously at his hands.
Jo screamed, “Bailey, do something! He’s killing her!” When I didn’t move, couldn’t move, Jo looked around frantically for something to use as a weapon.