All the Days Past, All the Days to Come

Written by Mildred D. Taylor
Review by Meg Wiviott

This is the sixth, and final, book in the Logan Family series (Song of the Trees, 1975; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, 1976; Let the Circle Be Unbroken, 1981; The Road to Memphis, 1990; and the prequel The Land, 2001). Readers follow Cassie Logan as she grows from a young college student to a thirty-year-old woman in the 1960s. She falls in love, marries, miscarries, and loses the love of her life. Nearly defeated by grief, Cassie searches for meaning and finds it working for civil rights, especially once tragedy strikes close to home. Her family, characters faithful readers will know, are a constant part of her life. As an adult, she is a successful lawyer, the only Negro in the firm. When she falls in love with a white co-worker, she must face her family’s disapproval. Through the Logan family, Taylor intimately presents historical events: Jim Crow laws, the murders of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, the desegregation of Ole Miss, as well as the impacts made by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, giving readers a ringside seat to the civil rights movement.

Though the changes in time and place are sweeping, they only accentuate the persistent and pervasive racism the characters face. Taylor sets the tone for the novel in the opening scene, and she never holds back. The honesty with which racism is portrayed is painful, though never gratuitous. Readers unfamiliar with the Logan family will be drawn in as if asked to pull up a chair at their table. Written for readers twelve to eighteen, this book will appeal to anyone who read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry more than forty years ago and anyone who simply wants to read a really good book.