It was the Great Depression in Orangeburg, South Carolina when A.D. Miller was 19 years old. He handed a note to a white girl, telling her he’d like to know her better. He was caught and thrown in jail for his actions, accused of attempted rape. This is the beginning of Adam David Miller’s book Ticket to Exile. What’s really special about this work? It’s all true.
Adam David Miller grew up in the pre-civil rights South where segregation was a horrific way of life. The black schools had less than half the government funding of white schools. Black pay was a fraction of white. If you were black, you couldn’t go downtown after dark or get a Coke from stores owned by whites. You couldn’t eat in their restaurants or buy their goods. But you could caddy their golf games and shine their shoes. This was Miller’s reality growing up.Ticket to Exile is Miller’s memoir of his childhood up until his arrest. What astounds me is the author’s lack of hatred or resentment in his words. Yet he was deeply affected by the events in his life. At the time he often didn’t realize he was going through life-shaping events. His book is honest and sincere, often revealing things of himself that must have taken great courage to put to paper. His straightforward writing style is quite effective at leading the reader on a journey to his hometown in the Jim Crow South.
Whether you feel you don’t know enough about this important part of American history or you want to learn more, Ticket to Exile is a book you’ll surely want to read. I thought I was well informed about the pre-civil rights South, but I read many passages that gave me “I-had-no-idea” moments. Let’s face it – this is a portion of our history that’s covered little in schools; as adults we can make up for that lack and teach our own children when schools fall short.
I’m honored to have a copy of Ticket to Exile to give to one reader chosen at random. You know the drill – leave a comment telling me what intrigues you about this book. If you subscribe to this blog, you’re already entered into this and all book giveaways here, but feel free to comment as your second entry. (Subscribe in the right hand column if you wish. You can read about the full giveaway rules and another entry option on the Giveaway Rules tab above.) A winner will be chosen at 12noon EST March 20, 2008.
Published by Heyday Books.