Angel of Greenwood Randi Pink

Reviewed by:
Young Adult

Angel of Greenwood Randi Pink

Title: Angel of Greenwood
By: Randi Pink
Published: 2021
Call #: YA Fiction Pink.R

The year is 1921 in this fictional tale of two teenagers growing up and falling in love in historic Greenwood, or Black Wall Street, in Tulsa Oklahoma days before the horrific race massacre. Isaiah is secretly an intelligent poet and deep thinker, but he hides his true self behind the persona of a mischievous troublemaker. Angel tells the other half of the story and contrasts Isaiah with her kind hearted, helpful nature, but she too is a more complicated character who reads Booker T. Washington and WEB DeBois and dances with inspiration. Historic Greenwood, Ok is a prosperous black community that is seemingly sheltered from the Jim Crow violence of the time and has excellent schools, hospitals and a thriving business district. In the story that unfolds the week before the race massacre, Isaiah and Angel are hired by a teacher to bike around historic Greenwood, passing out books and reading to children. They fall into an unlikely friendship and genuine interest in each other. The story reads like a sweet summer love tale, a safe and inspiring story that every teenager deserves.

Lingering in the shadows of their tender story is the knowledge of the violence that is to come. A white mob from the other side of town, emerges on the town in the middle of the night and begins to burn houses to the ground. Isaiah and Angel are faced with difficult choices, the testing of their ideals and of their young love. Angel of Greenwood both reminds us of the horrific racial violence of the past (one that was covered up for almost a century) as well as draws us into longing for the culmination of the dream of what Greenwood was–a safe and loving community where two teenagers can find themselves and fall in love.  This book offers both a reminder of the past and to hope for a better future for all of us.

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