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The King of Colored Town

Posted on

The King of Colored Town

Current Status:
In Season
Darryl Wimberley

We gave it a B+

In the steamy, small-town 1960s Florida of Darryl Wimberley’s The King of Colored Town, two black teens become unlikely lovers. Cilla is a prim classical-music student, while Joe Billy, with his guitar and tight jeans, is a consummate greaser. They find common ground in their joint struggle against Jim Crow and in the hesitant integration of local schools; one achieves success while the other is fated for prison. Though Wimberley sometimes dives into cliché, Cilla’s terror at reaching puberty and losing her virginity), his descriptions of the poor, racially divided community are sumptuous. And the residents of Laureate, with their drawlin’ twangs, seem to jump off the page. B+