By J. Everett Prewitt
Northland Publishing Company (2005)
Reviewed by Beverly Pechin for Reader Views (3/06)
When first approaching Snake Walkers I wasn't so sure it was going to be my 'cup of tea'. It seemed to be another one of those stories set back in the days of racial conflict, one we've all heard before... but I quickly realized I have never seen this side of the race wars. Set in the late 1940's through the 1960's the story begins with a young black boy (Anthony) seeing another boy being hung and beaten by a group of 14 white men. Scared to the depths of his soul he holds this vision deep within for decades, allowing it to eat at him until he's finally forced to confront the issues of what he saw.
Anthony vows to make right the wrongs he has seen, if even by making a small difference in the world of blacks but his ways of 'making a difference' seems to differ a lot from what many others are doing during this time of conflict. His father brings him up to believe that the colored folk are in the predicament they're in because of their own ignorance and violence. Anthony follows in his father's way of thinking and feels that he can make a difference by being the best he can be and not making those he's fighting against angry with such 'stupid' actions as marches and out right confrontation. He chooses to ignore the violence involved with often innocent black men and women or at the least, put it in the back of his mind.
Then Anthony lands a job as 'the first negro to write for the Sun'. This position makes him feel as thought this is his chance to make the difference he's always wanted to make. He finds himself working on a story, which soon becomes a much deeper and darker story than he ever thought. Then to complicate matters even more, he seeks some answers from a beautiful, intelligent professor that he instantly has feelings for, but doesn't want to allow those feelings overtake his ability to write a good story. As he uncovers more and more information it becomes less and less clear who is 'on his side' now and he finds danger in every corner.
During his quest, he also finds that perhaps his father's ways aren't the right ways. He finds that family isn't always as cut and dry as he thought, and begins to understand the true meaning of family ties and bonds.
While the beginning of the book was a little slow, a little perseverance will put you deep within the soul of a touching, thrilling story like no other. You've never seen the times of racial wars like this before, I can assure you. It's a wonderful book that will open your eyes to many things, including what true love and family means.