Three Girls from Bronzeville is a profound, vividly written, and unforgettable true story of three promising young Black girls who grew up in the same neighborhood in Chicago in the 1970s, and how their lives took wildly different turns. It’s a riveting narrative with the surprising plot twists of a novel. The journeys of Dawn, her sister Kim, and best friend Debra, are full of heartbreak, loss, and even murder, but also fierce love, humor, and beauty against the odds. It’s a personal story, yet a story of America too. Who gets second chances and who doesn’t? Why do some kids succeed while others fall off the path? As our country reckons with race, class, and opportunity, stories like Dawn Turner’s offer us nuanced answers—and above all, Three Girls from Bronzeville offers us hope.— Paula Amendolara, Director of National Accounts, Simon and Schuster
A "beautiful, tragic, and inspiring" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) memoir about three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville section of Chicago that offers a penetrating exploration of race, opportunity, friendship, sisterhood, and the powerful forces at work that allow some to flourish...and others to falter.
They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded--fervently and intensely in that unique way of little girls--as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South.
These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks' business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures--Dawn and Debra, doctors, Kim a teacher. For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of "friends forever." And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There's heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why?
In the vein of The Other Wes Moore and is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn's attempt to find answers. It's at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.