All posts tagged: lynching of Mack Parker

The Magazine That Was a Window on America

The Magazine That Was a Window on America

I grew up in the 1950s, on a farm in Virginia miles away from any town or neighbors. For most of my childhood we didn’t have a television, so my three brothers and I amused ourselves fighting pretend Civil War battles in the fields and woods around our house or vying over card and board games that we spread across the living-room floor. But for me, the best entertainment was always reading. I read for pleasure, for company, and for escape from my contained Virginia world. I could explore other places and imagine myself into other lives—lives that went beyond the limited choices available to my mother and the women of her circle, who were all ruled by the era’s prescriptions of female domesticity. The written word introduced me to what girls could do: solve mysteries, like Nancy Drew; brave the Nazis, like Anne Frank; demand change, like the protagonist of Susan Anthony: Girl Who Dared. Reading could provide, to borrow Scout’s words in To Kill a Mockingbird, a way to escape “the starched walls …