With each assassination, each lynching, each godawful assault against blacks and whites who fought for civil rights in the Sixties, cities burned. Today, George Floyd’s public lynching set the entire world on fire. Some say everything has changed, others say nothing’s changed. What we know, for sure, is the heroes then and now are ordinary people like The Detroit Eight. The award-winning author Kathleen Hall takes us to Detroit during the turbulence of the Sixties.

If the Moon Had Willow Trees (Detroit Eight Series Book 1)
by Kathleen Hall
4.5 Stars (25 Reviews)
Genre: Literature & Fiction

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Detroit–July 25, 1967, two days after Detroit cops raid a blind pig (speakeasy) inciting the biggest race riot in American history. Maggie Soulier wakes to a deejay’s cry for ‘anyone left in the city’ to hustle pop to police sweltering at highway checkpoints leading into the firestorm.

Maggie’s not a hippie chick looking for a cause, she’s the daughter of notorious French Canadian secessionist radicals who disappeared without a trace. A grad student on a visa, Maggie covers absences at a pizzeria to support her stateside civil rights work. Delivering soft drinks to keep armed men from having a meltdown sounded simple. That was before she met Sam Tervo on the wrong side of a gun–before she offered him a Coke, before shared laughter ricocheted against shrieking sirens and a darkening sky.

Sam, a fierce human rights advocate, thinks he’s being targeted by mafia types who want something; the question is what. More and more he relies on his friend Clyde Webster, a black civil rights leader and Maggie’s co-worker, to guide him through this underworld. Cold sober in the ash, soot and rubble, Clyde pulls together The Eights: eight working-poor, part-time activists, to curb white flight and integrate the burbs.

With the intrigue, corruption, brutality and bigotry, The Eights experience the love, laughter, irony and self-reflection of blacks and whites redefining friendship and transforming the world with pocket change.

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Livonia | The Whitest City (Detroit Eight Series Book 2)
by Kathleen Hall
3.6 Stars (11 Reviews)
Genre: Literature & Fiction

Two years after the biggest race riot in U.S. history, Detroit was fast becoming one of the blackest cities in America. A few miles west, Livonia was one year away from being named the whitest city in America. The Detroit Eight decided it was time to ‘move behind enemy lines’ and infiltrate the burbs.

Behind picket fences, beneath a sheath of quiet civility, The Eights begin to uncover the sinister underbelly — violence, corruption, oppression and racial hysteria. Power brokers crop up everywhere. They wear suits, neatly pressed aprons, hold respectable jobs, host fundraisers and move unseen in polite society. Amid the freshly painted houses and carefully groomed lawns, Maggie and Sam find themselves embroiled in the apartheid of fear and the high-stakes dismantling of Detroit.

Racism might have been the match, but the fire looks more like greed as mysteries unwind. The mafia’s calling card is everywhere. The cops, neighbors and women’s league are less than welcoming. What about the Eights? Maggie’s missing French-Canadian radical, activist parents? The legendary Oz? Where do they fall within the tremor of underground forces between darkness and light?

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