Jewell Parker Rhodes book, Ghost boys, takes up historical and social political events into a heartbreaking and gripping story about children and families facing the complexities of today’s world, and how one young boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
In this text, I am going to write about how two characters have broadened my understanding of society and relationships.
The plot was set in a Chicago neighborhood. A black 12-year-old boy, Jerome Rorgers, was playing outside with a toy gun when he got shot and killed by a white policeman who viewed him as a threat.
As a ghost, he wandered the earth with other “ghost boys” and observed the devastation that had been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they saw as a brutal and unjust killing.
Later on, Jerome meets another ghost, Emmet Till, a boy from a different time but with similar circumstances.
He was also a black boy killed by white men a long time ago. Emmet helped Jerome process everything that has happened, and their encounter allowed Jerome to realize the lack of injustice in their society.
Eventually, Jerome meets Sarah, the only living person who could see and hear him.
She also happened to be the daughter of the police officer who was responsible for his death.
Sarah was a young girl who knew that her father did something terribly wrong, but she did not know what to do about it.
Together they communicate about how racism and racial bias has to stop.
Also, how Sarah has the power to make the world better as a member of the community, or how Jerome says: “Only the living can make the world better.
Live and make it better” (Rhodes, 2018, p. 203). Jerome and Emmet told Sarah their story, later she became an activist, a person who became part of the change to make the world a better place, a fighter against racism, against prejudice, against bias, she became a fighter for social justice.
The relationship between Jerome and Sarah, made Sarah take steps to make her own family and the world better.
By her hearing and seeing Jerome, she became an empowered character, who forgave her father and the advocates for social justice, even though she understood that her father’s act was a result of deeply ingrained racism.
She changed by Jerome’s story and, in turn, she would help improve the world and make it a better place.