The author of Electric Arches and Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side explores the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, which occurred after the stoning and drowning of a black boy at a segregated Lake Michigan beach.
Many of the poems have great power, and some present searing images. Collectively, these poems present the history of a particular time and place in a form not customarily seen in historical prose ... These poems offer testimony to the fact that history need not be left to the historian and that literature can convey history with an emotional power that enhances and drives home the historical record ... Eve L. Ewing has achieved what the historian cannot. She has restored the blood and sweat to the historical record of a tragic moment in the history of the nation.
The question that remains after reading 1919 is whether exodus and deliverance are still possible ... Ewing’s 1919 is a window into the mental and emotional lives of Black Americans in a Chicago, in an America, where time beckons oppressively ... 1919 places readers in the minds and bodies of Black Chicagoans, Black Americans, and asks readers to see what has been, and what could be.
...exquisitely distilled lyrics ... These clarion and haunting poems—some psalm-like, others percussive, even concussive, all technically brilliant and sure to galvanize adults and teens alike—incisively and resoundingly evoke the promise and betrayal of the Great Migration and the everyday struggles of Chicago’s Black community against vicious and violent racism. The riot a century ago, Ewing writes, 'left an indelible mark on the city,' which she gracefully, imaginatively, and searingly illuminates with hope for a more just future.