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With the Might of Angels: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson is a historical fiction book written by Andrea Davis Pinkney. It is the fourth new book in the Dear America relaunch and the fortieth overall. The book was published in September 2011 and was followed by Susan Patron's Behind the Masks.

After the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, Dawnie Rae Johnson gets an opportunity to attend her town's previously all-white school.

Dedication[]

"This book is dedicated to the legacies of Thurgood Marshall and George E. Bragg."

Book description[]

"My name is Dawnie. This is my story....
Twelve-year-old Dawnie Rae Johnson's life turns upside down after the Supreme Court rules in favor of desegregation in the landmark case
Brown v. Board of Education. Her parents decide that Dawnie will attend Prettyman Coburn, a previously all-white school—but she'll be the only one of her friends to enroll in this new school.
Not everyone in Hadley supports integration, though, and much of the town is outraged at the decision. As she starts school, Dawnie endures the harsh realities of racism. But the backlash against her attendance at Prettyman Coburn is more than she's prepared for, and she begins to wonder if the hardship is worth it. Will Dawnie be able to hold on to the true meaning of justice and remain faithful to her own integrity?
"

"Twelve-year-old Dawnie Rae Johnson's life turns upside down after the Supreme Court rules in favor of desegregation in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. Her parents decide that Dawnie will attend Prettyman Coburn, a previously all-white school—but she'll be the only one of her friends to enroll in this new school.
Not everyone in Dawnie's town of Hadley, Virginia, supports integration, though, and much of the community is outraged by the decision. As she starts school, Dawnie encounters the harsh realities of racism. But the backlash against her arrival at Prettyman Coburn is more than she's prepared for, and she begins to wonder if the hardship is worth it. Will Dawnie be able to hold on to the true meaning of justice and remain faithful to her own sense of integrity?
"

Plot[]

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Epilogue[]

Historical Note[]

Characters[]

Main article: List of With the Might of Angels characters
  • Dawnie Rae Johnson, a twelve-year-old who begins attending a previously all-white school. As a result, she and her family face racism and hardship in their small town of Hadley, Virginia.
  • Goober Johnson is Dawnie's kind eight-year-old brother whom has a fixation with peanuts. He is described by his mother as having a "special way of seeing things."

Author[]

Main article: Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is an American author as well as the vice president and editor-at-large for Scholastic. Her work focuses on African-American history. With the Might of Angels is Pinkney's only entry for Dear America. At age six, she began attending an all-white school more than a after Brown v. Board of Education. Pinkney described feeling a "keen sense of loneliness and isolation as the school's only black student." After discovering a collection of materials about Brown v. Board of Education among her father's things, Pinkney felt compelled to "craft a school integration story for today's readers."

Editions[]

Might-of-Angels-audio-book
  • Narrator: Channie Waites
  • Publisher: Scholastic Audio
  • Published: September 1, 2011[5]
  • Running time: 6 hours and 37 minutes
  • No. of discs: 6
  • ISBN: 9780545353977

Videos[]

Acknowledgments[]

Like Dawnie Rae, I was blessed "with the might of angels" in the creation of this book. Special thanks to Katherine Wilkins, reference librarian, Virginia Historical Society, whose careful attention to the details involving school integration and legislation in the state of Virginia helped me solidify and round out the facts in Dawnie's narrative.
I thank my cousin John Mullen, whose colorful recounting of his own integration experiences in Newport News, Virginia, gave life to Dawnie's story and that of her family. Thanks, too, to Rhonda Joy McLean, who integrated her school in Smithfield, North Carolina, and who generously shared her memories with me.
Thank you, all my friends and colleagues at Scholastic for inviting Dawnie Rae Johnson into the Dear America fold, and for fostering a love of history through the Dear America series.
Elizabeth Parisi, special thanks to you for designing such an engaging book cover. Thanks, too, to artist Tim O'Brien for your portrait depicting Dawnie with beauty and dignity. Thank you, Elizabeth Starr Baer, for your amazing copyediting talents and your eagle-eyed fact-checking of the material.
Rebecca Sherman, my agent, and Lisa Sandell, my editor, you are both angels without whose might I could not have written this book. I thank you for your keen editorial insights, and for the care with which you each helped me polish Dawnie's story.
Thanks to Mom, for being the keeper of memories, and for somehow always managing to pull the right rabbit from the right hat, at the right moment.
Finally, thanks to the angels who live under the same roof as I do–my daughter, Chloe, and son, Dobbin, who listened to Dawnie's story for months and offered invaluable suggestions for making her real.
Finally, a loving thank-you to my brightest angel of all, Brian Pinkney, for reading each and every one of this diary's entries, for laughing in all the right places, and for helping me bring power and grace to Dawnie Rae and the Johnson family.

Notes[]

  • The portrait of Dawnie Rae on the cover was illustrated by Tim O'Brien. The background is a detail of a photograph titled High school, Knoxville, Tenn.[6][7]
  • The cover of the second edition was illustrated by Mike Heath.
  • For the purposes of the story, With the Might of Angels is set in the fictional town of Hadley though the county, Lee County, exists in Virginia.[8]

References[]

See Also[]

Resources:
File:With the Might of Angels Discussion Guide.pdf


Dear America
Original

A Journey to the New World | The Winter of Red Snow | When Will This Cruel War Be Over? | A Picture of Freedom
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly
West to a Land of Plenty | Dreams in the Golden Country | Standing in the Light | Voyage on the Great Titanic
A Line in the Sand | My Heart Is on the Ground | The Great Railroad Race | The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow
A Light in the Storm | Color Me Dark | A Coal Miner's Bride | My Secret War | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
Valley of the Moon | Seeds of Hope | Early Sunday Morning | My Face to the Wind | Christmas After All
A Time for Courage | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Survival in the Storm
When Christmas Comes Again | Land of the Buffalo Bones | Love Thy Neighbor | All the Stars in the Sky
Look to the Hills | I Walk in Dread | Hear My Sorrow

Relaunch

The Fences Between Us | Like the Willow Tree | Cannons at Dawn | With the Might of Angels | Behind the Masks
Down the Rabbit Hole | A City Tossed and Broken

External links[]

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