The Watson’s Go To Birmingham- 1963

The Watson’s Go To Birmingham, a novel by Christoper Paul Curtis was written in 1995. This is my favorite novel of all time. Grant it, I’ve only read about three books in my whole life, and all of them were from high school. I was never a big reader anyway, I just found a lot of books interesting to TRY and read. Back to my favorite novel. Now the story begins in Flint, Michigan in 1963 during the civil rights movement. The story’s narrated by a 10 year old  African-American boy named Kenny. His family the Watson’s are made up of his troublesome older brother Byron, Loving mother and father Wilona and Daniel Watson. Finally his little sister Joetta who’s the angel of the family and Kenny’s irritation.

In the Story older brother Byron becomes such a burden on his parent they decide to take a trip down to Birmingham where the intend to make Byron stay the summer with his Grandma Sands Watson. After the family’s Sunday Mass at the local church in Birmingham, the church was bombed with Joetta inside the church. Kenny runs into the burning church and rescues his little sister. Two girls were injured including Joetta and four were killed. This event was directly related to the 16th Baptist Church Bombing in 1963 which was then, a heated and controversial topic of that year in 1963. The bombing was related to segregation in the south between whites and black, in which Byron had to explain to Kenny so that he could understand the world that he lived in a little more. Unlike Flint, Michigan, the racism in Birmingham was far more potent than in the north, were Kenny had resided from.

I read this book around the time I was 9 years old. I was in the fourth grade, and the stories about Byron’s behavior like shooting birds with stones, spending his parent money in the wrong ways, and lighting matches on fire had drew me closer because I wanted to do those things and I was very troublesome myself. In one instance, Kenny is save by brother byron from a bully at school. This also reminded of me and my brothers. I always dreamed my brother would save me in a fight if he needed to, fortunately that never occurred because I was a badass. This reminded me of myself because there was multiple instances of me saving my little brother, unfortunately I got my ass kicked once, because he was a few grades higher than me, but at least I had the courage to step up.


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