Summertime: When a Southern Town Broke a Heart


Femi Dawkins

Greenville, S.C., in the 1970s is a rolling green dream in my memory now. Always in that memory are the smell of pine and the red dirt wafting up around our summer shoes — new blue Keds with thick white soles, red by the end of our first day “home.” Because for me, South Carolina had always been home. Even years after my family joined the Great Migration and my mother moved us from Greenville to Brooklyn, each summer we returned to the Southern town of my mother’s childhood.

There, the friendly neighbors who knew us before we “were even a thought” and remembered our mama “when she was a little girl in pigtails” opened their arms to us every summer, welcoming us home….

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