I am just re-reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Amazing in so many ways. One passage particularly grabbed me. It comes right after the book is published, as they are awaiting the backlash, not knowing what will happen to them, how bad it will get. Aibeleen walks into a surprise party that her church have thrown for her. This is the only time they will ever be able to acknowledge that she was part of writing this, to celebrate her courage.
He (Reverend Johnson) hand me the book. “We know you couldn’t put your name in it, so we all signed our own name for you.” I open the front cover and there they is, not thirty or forty names, but hundreds, maybe five hundred, in the front pages, the back pages, along the rim a the inside pages. All the peoples in my church and folks from other churches too. Oh, I just break down then. It’s like two years a doing and trying and hoping all come out at once. […]
“There may be some hard times ahead,” Reverend Johnson say to me. “If it comes to that, the church will help you in every way.” […]
I wonder what Miss Skeeter would do if she was here and it kind a makes me sad. I know ain’t nobody in town gone sign a book for her and tell her she brave. Ain’t nobody gone tell her they look after her.
Then the Reverend hands me a box, wrapped in white paper, tied with light blue ribbon, same colors as the book. He lays his hand on it as a blessing. “This one, this is for the white lady. You tell her we love her, like she’s our own family.”
What an amazing picture of courage, of standing together, of community. It makes me wonder where that is still present in our world.