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Reviewed by Ica Iova for Readers' Favorite
Poka City Blues by A.L. Gibson is the story of Sedelia — a strong and determined African-American woman - who is able to overcome numerous hardships in her life. Set in 1930s Loachapoka, Alabama, (Poka City as it is known by locals), the story brings to light a difficult but realistic insight into a period of time when bigotry is rife and political correctness hasn't been invented. Sedelia, now in her mid-70s, details her growing up in Alabama during a troubling time in Black American history. Born to a poor family of cotton pickers, Sedelia remembers being proud of her family’s small garden and their few scrawny farm animals. They didn't have much, but they had love, and they had each other.
Sedelia writes about being poor, picking cotton, about intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan, rape, and murder, but even in those darkest times, you can feel the love flowing from the story. Her life story has truly tugged at my heart strings. The amount of cruelty that Sedelia had to face while growing up is too much for any child and it brought tears to my eyes. Poka City Blues by A.L. Gibson drew me into the pain that Sedelia still feels. “My heart becomes pained when I think about some of the nights Mama and Papa went to bed hungry so that we, all seven of their children, could have a little something to eat.” This story will stay with the reader long after that last paragraph. I suggest reading it with a box of tissues nearby.