Article Title

Betty Before X


Taylor Harris


Outstanding, Intermediate, Civil Rights, activist, belonging, love, racism, prejudice, taking a stand, leadership

Document Type

Book Review


No matter how hard she tries, Betty just can’t get her mother, Ollie Mae, to love her. One day, Betty decides that she has had enough of the beatings and lack of love, and so she runs away. A kind, well-off couple takes her in as their daughter. Soon, Betty and her friend Suesetta begin volunteering with the Housewives’ League, an organization that encourages people to not shop at places where Negroes can’t be hired. With all the prejudice, racism, and hate surrounding blacks at this time, Betty is determined to make a difference and learns from her new mother’s example how to be a leader, be kind, and help those around you. When an African American boy is shot and killed, tensions are heightened. Betty resolves to help by aiding the family, because it is through caring for others that the best work is done.