PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF LORENZ GRAHAM  
  
 
 
 
 

 
 
TOWN SERIES

Boyds Mills Press released Lorenz Graham’s award-winning novels, South Town, North Town, Whose Town? and Return to South Town in August 2003.  These works by Graham helped lay the foundation for contemporary African American children’s literature. A foreword by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop and an afterword by the author's daughter, Dr. Ruth Graham Siegrist, place these remarkable novels in the context of their time (South Town was originally published in 1958). Through the character of David Williams, young readers witness a turbulent era in American history, a period marked by unspeakable injustice and life-affirming hope.

              Maya Angelou praises Lorenz Graham’s novels.

                         "South Town and North Town were the bookends to a small library 
which I used to raise a teenage African American boy…The Graham  books were
so accessible that I noticed those were the only two books  my son refused to
lend out and in fact kept privately secreted under his bed."

South Town               

     

David Williams was just another kid in South Town, until the day that he rescued a white boy from drowning. Now he was a hero. The whole town took notice of him.  And that’s when the trouble started.

Some citizens decided that no black boy should be so brave or bright.  No black boy should have such lofty ambitions. David dreamed of becoming a doctor and returning to South Town to open a practice.  Some people thought David was a little too uppity. They decided he needed to be put in his place. David’s family did everything they could to help David. Despite the racial barriers they ran into day after day, his family never gave up hope. But then came that summer night and the tragic events that would shatter their lives.

Hailed by Booklist as a “sensitively written, harshly realistic, compelling story” when it was first published in 1958, South Town presents a picture of African American life in the South at the birth of the Civil Rights era.

South Town is also remarkable for its time, when few books for young people tackled the issue of  racism in America. Lorenz Graham’s novel, the first of four to feature the character David Williams, is a landmark in African American literature.

     

North Town  

David Williams and his family have left the South for a new life up North. A summer marked by violence and  bigotry led them to believe that their only salvation lay in moving to North Town.

A new life brings new experiences for David. He had never gone to school with white students. He never rode on a bus where he was not separated
from the white passengers. Despite having to live in a run-down apartment, city life looks good to David—at least for a short while.

It doesn’t take long for David to learn that although he may be living in the “free” North, he is still treated as a second-class citizen. In rapid succession, two events change the course of David’s life. The first one is an unexpected encounter with the law, an experience that calls up the terrors of his earlier troubles in the South. The second one is a catastrophe in his family, which seems to end any hope for happiness in North Town.

This powerful novel, set in the 1960's, is the second in Lorenz Graham’s classic “Town” series.


This award-winning series contiues with these novels:
Whose Town?
 and
Return to South Town