Readers familiar with the several other stories in which the Logans appear know that a visit to the Wallace general store will lead to painful incidents of racial injustice. In Mississippi Bridge, it’s back to 1931, with Stacey Logan’s contemporary and sometime friend Jeremy Simms, who is white, narrating. The once-a-week bus is coming; as the would-be riders wait at the store, Taylor contrasts their treatment (only a white may try on a hat before buying it; a black man who allows that he has a new job is cruelly forced to lie and contradict himself).
The bus is full; the Blacks (including the Logans’ Grandmama, going to care for a sick relative) are put off to make room for whites on less urgent errands. Then the decrepit local bridge chooses this day to give way, under the bus.
Taylor, a powerful storyteller, again combines authentic incidents to create a taut plot. Jeremy’s narrative, in dialect, is believable, though he gives no hint why only he, in his otherwise abusive, unredeemed family, has compassion for the Blacks’ situation. Taylor’s cry for justice always rings true; but it would be even more potent if the other side were shown in fuller dimension. —Kirkus Review
Credit: By Mildred D. Taylor. Illustrated by Max Ginsburg. Published by Puffin, 2000.
Type: Book Fiction
Grade Level: 2-4, 5-6
Time Period: 1925-1949