The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead:
Elwood received the best gift of his life on Christmas Day 1962, even if the ideas it put in his head were his undoing. Martin Luther King at Zion Hill was the only album he owned and it never left the turntable. His grandmother Harriet had a few gospel records, which she only played when the world discovered a new mean way to work on her, and Elwood wasn’t allowed to listen to the Motown groups or popular songs like that on account of their licentious nature. The rest of his presents that year were clothes—a new red sweater, socks—and he centainly wore those out, but nothing endured such good and constant use as the record. Every scratch and pop it gathered over the months was a mark of his enlightenment, tracking each time he entered into a new understanding of the reverend’s words. The crackle of truth.
They didn’t have a TV set but Dr. King’s speeches were such a vivid chronicle—containing all tha the Negro had been and all that he would be—that the record was almost as good as television. Maybe even better, grander, like the towering screen at the Davis Drive-In, which he’d been to twice. Elwood saw it all: Africans persecuted by the white sin of slavery, Negroes humiliated and kept low by segregation, and that luminous image to come, when all those places closed to his race were opened.
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