Scholarship Boy: Meditations on Family and Race

Paul Dry. May 2020. 258p. ISBN 9781589881457. pap. $19.95. MEMOIR
Palmer (Law, Medicine, and Social Justice) refers to his family as “chaotic and loving,” a description that keenly expresses his emotions about them. His family was large, and he was one of the youngest. The Arkansas the Palmers grew up in was segregated, offering little opportunity for African Americans to gain an education. Yet both his parents went to college and worked as schoolteachers before moving their family to St. Louis for increased educational opportunities. Palmer is offered a scholarship position at Phillips Exeter [Academy in New Hampshire?], a change of circumstances that puts him at odds with friends and family, notably his father. Palmer’s story offers a notable firsthand account of attending school as Brown v. Board of Education was beginning to have an effect on schools. His descriptions of his relationships with his siblings, some of whom had their struggles as they reached adulthood, also are moving.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy memoirs of education journeys and complex familial relationships.

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