- We're Open: What You Need to Know
A Lesson Before Dying
by Ernest J. Gaines
Available formats: Print and Overdrive e-book
This story takes place in a racially charged Southern community during the 1940s. The protagonist, Grant Williams is well educated and has the potential to succeed outside of this impoverished plantation community that he was born and raised in. Grant is reluctantly brought into a situation where he has an opportunity to help a more disadvantaged younger black man who has been wrongly accused of a crime, or Grant can flee the racist and overwhelmingly unjust community once and for all. The theme of an individual's membership and loyalty within their community, along side of a desperate longing to abandon it, is woven into this powerful and enduring narrative.