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IFL Book Club - Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick

Monday, March 14, 2022
7:00 pm8:00 pm

Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick

When Elizabeth Eckford braved the gauntlet of white hecklers leading to the newly desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, photographers captured her image and that of the angry young white woman behind her. Elizabeth, the stoic, and Hazel Bryan, the tormentor, were frozen as icons. Elizabeth was part of the Little Rock Nine, the black teens who became the targets of race hatred as well as national and international inspirations. Despite public-relations efforts to depict the success of the Nine and the overall move to desegregation, the truth was far more complicated, particularly for Elizabeth. Margolick draws on interviews and press reports of the time to present a very nuanced analysis of how Elizabeth and Hazel were affected by the scene that made them famous. Elizabeth spent the remainder of her life a near recluse, scarred by the memory of that day, adrift emotionally, dodging the commemorations. In contrast, Hazel opened up, evolving into a free-spirited progressive. Hazel, who didn't even finish her year at Central High, later reentered Elizabeth's life with a heartfelt apology that went unreported until the two women reunited for a symbolic reconciliation and photo op back at Central. A complex look at two women at the center of a historic moment.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist

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