Jonquil "Jonny" Carter is a precocious, athletic 15-year-old living with her grandfather just outside a small town in northwest Mississippi. After receiving an assignment to write a paper about something of historical significance to the rural region, she focuses on a specific date nearly sixty years earlier. Her grandfather, along with the town's librarian, Jonny's teacher, the publisher of the town's weekly newspaper, a retired state Senator, and an old woman with a mysterious past, all try to dissuade her from looking into matters best forgotten.Undeterred, Jonny doggedly pursues what might have happened. As the past reveals itself, attempts to deter her get personal and sometimes physical.The History Lesson is a story about past as prologue, about intergenerational bigotry and hatred, and about how a few once forbidden relationships help open the world for a young, black girl.
Bruce F. Katz