"Why are you reading all them books? White man ain't gonna let you do anything in them books."
I heard these words from an older cousin who expressed his opinion that I wasn't normal.
I read constantly, anything I could get my hands on: comics, spy stories, boys' adventures. I even "borrowed" from my mother's bookshelf in the dead of night. And I read lots of science-fiction and fantasy. But at some point I noticed that none of the fantastic events in the stories I loved ever seemed to happen to black people. Nothing cool ever seemed to happen to us. No, we got threatened with eviction, or punched out at the local "Whites Only" dinner theater. I read 'The Lord of the Rings' at 9 years old. I was swept away by the wonder of J.R.R. Tolkien's vision.
Read the rest of my appreciation of Octavia Butler for Women's History Month at AOL's Black Voices.
Thanks as usual to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the AOL people. It's just one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.