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A Lesson Before Dying

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Gaines, Ernest J.(1993)
A Lesson Before Dying

Set in rural Louisiana during the late 1940’s, Jefferson, a barely literate twenty-year-old black man, is wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of a white man. In a futile attempt to spare his life, his defense lawyer claims that he is not intelligent enough to be regarded as human. Eventually, his extended family convinces Grant Wiggins, the university-educated teacher of their parish, to help Jefferson realize his humanity and self-worth during his final days. Major social issues such as race, the death penalty, and religion are central to this powerful tale of human morality. This title is a must read for anyone who enjoys literature with an important social message.

Reviewed by LaJuan P., University City Regional

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