The story is one we’ve all seen in headlines and heard in soundbites. Black teenager is shot and killed on the sidewalk….by a white man. Did he have a gun? Was he in a gang? Who saw it? Kekla Magoon creates the story of 16-year-old Tariq Johnson through the perspectives of 17 different characters. When they all remember him differently, how can we ever know the truth?
Magoon examines race, bias, and crime through the eyes of 17 very different people. From the gang member who thought Tariq was a punk, to the little sister who idolized her sweet big brother, the views on the victim differ as much as the people who have them. The story follows the path of a community as it reels in shock, holds grief-filled vigils, organizes angry protests, and ultimately looks for answers in themselves. Gangs, preachers, politicians, hairdressers, store owners, mothers, fathers, children, and the press all play their parts in determining How It Went Down.
If you missed Kekla Magoon’s visit to the library in February, you didn’t get to hear the backstory to this powerful book that uses a fictional story to take a very real look at a frightening epidemic in our society. Don’t let this one pass you by.