OUT OF THE NIGHT THAT COVERS ME
In Bainbridge, Alabama, eight-year-old John Gallatin McMillan lll has been the center of his mother's world, cloistered and pampered, until she unexpectedly dies. Taken away by his one remaining relative, his mother's sister, John soon learns that the new home awaiting him in Lower Peach Tree is a run-down tenant farm in the heart of the Alabama Black Belt. There he is thrust into al life alien to anything he has ever known, working long hours in the fields for his violent, alcoholic uncle.
As John fights for his survival, he comes to identify with the struggles of the poor blacks he encounters, and imagines that his salvation lies in escape to Chicago, just as they feel their own survival depends on going north to a new life.
Instead, a twist of fate brings him to The Bend, a black settlement that has become a refuge for outcasts. Here John meets Mama Tuway, a powerful black healer: Ella, a young mother damaged by the ravages of abuse: and Tuway, a man straddling the black and white cultures and leading a dangerous life. But none of them - or anyone in Lower Peachtree - will be ready for the brutal confrontation between blacks and whites, and how it will foreshadow the historic struggle about to sweep across the country.
Praise for Out ot the Night That Covers Me
"Wholly convincing....(John is) a terrific and totally believable little kid. From his point of view we see an entire society beginning to implode." -
Washington Post Book World.
“Written with grace and sympathy." -New York Times Book Review
"Stunning....This lyrical, moving novel should establish Devoto as a great Southern novelist."-Library Journal
"A remarkably detailed look at life in Alabama's Black Belt....authentic details and pitch-perfect dialogue...This is the real deal." - Birmingham News
A Note to Teachers
After this novel was published, some high schools and middle schools began placing it on their reading lists. As a result I got together with a group of educators from Alabama and Georgia to produce this teacher’s guide. I have included it here with the thought that you might find parts of it useful if you are teaching the novel. Materials include test questions for each chapter, essay topics, group activities, etc. Everlasting thanks to all the wonderful teachers and librarians who took time out from their busy schedules to help create this multidisciplinary guide.
Pat Cunningham Devoto