Author Danny Holst provides a moving insight into the experiences of African American men during the Great War
Robert Johnson migrated from Maryland to Harlem in 1913, with his daughter Belinda, who was born blind. Robert falls in love with Mary, a teacher at Belinda’s school, and they start to plan a future together. But, following a violent incident at a peaceful, democratic protest, Robert and his friend Clifford are wrongfully arrested. They know they will face racial discrimination if the case goes to trial, and so they reluctantly agree to sign up for the army to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. Mary takes care of Belinda and Clifford’s six children, as the pair are sent to the South for military training. Robert and Clifford face racism and brutality throughout their training, and during their military combat in the Great War. Both are sadly lost in action, but receive posthumous bravery awards from the French government.
Meanwhile, Belinda is hit by a car and spends fifty years in a coma. When she finally awakes in 1969, her whole family is gone, and she is left to fend for herself. The entire world around her has changed, but racism and discrimination are still present in Harlem. Belinda faces tremendous hardship as she tries to find her way, alone, homeless and on the streets.
Promised Land is an inspirational story about an African American family and their experiences of growing up in Harlem in the early 1900s. The book provides a unique insight into the experiences of African American men during World War I, and how the racial injustices they experienced at home followed them overseas and into war. With vivid dialogue and graphic descriptions, the book provides a fascinating insight into Black American history and the social, racial, and political tensions during this period. A captivating read.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
‘A captivating and inspirational story about an African American family and their experiences of growing up in Harlem in the early 1900s. A FINALIST and highly recommended.’