When I saw a picture of Dawn Turner receiving the 2022 Pattis Foundation Chicago Book Award in the Newberry Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2022 edition, I took immediate notice. I looked up her book, Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate and Sisterhood and saw that it was available at our local library. I put on two jackets and warm clothing and walked to the Crown Library and thank goodness, it was there on the shelf.
I dived in and finished this page-turner in three days. Dawn Turner talked about the south side of Chicago and lived in places and spots that I have also frequented throughout my journey. She lived in Lawless Gardens where one of my sisters once lived. She went to Doolittle School which I drove by daily and spoke of Pershing School where I temporarily subbed. We both even attend Hyde Park High though I did so before her.
Her daily walks to Lake Meadows Shopping Center reminded me of when it was in its glory days and had stores such as Goldblatt’s and Woolworth’s. The nearby Alco Drugstore, which she also mentioned, was a place where many south siders traveled at all times of night because it stayed open 24 hours. We could purchase items like iodine, mercurochrome, BC or Goody powders, all virtually impossible to find these days.
For me, this was a deeply engaging tale as she remembered the off-limits Lake Meadows Complex where the black elite lived, a place I often visited to see a close friend. She too mentioned the elusive Prairie Shores Complex where I later resided for over a decade. Turner goes into detail about the early years of the three Bronzeville girls which include her, her younger sister Kim and her dear friend, Debra.
Quite typical of an observer who would go on to become a Chicago Tribune writer, Dawn was the silent onlooker as her sister Kim and friend Debra both took a walk on the wild side. They got caught up in the mean streets of Chicago and became dangling victims of its spewed venom. Every south sider from Chicago should pick up a copy of Three Girls from Bronzeville as they reminisce and see what happens to Dawn, Kim and Debra!
(Reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads) ***** 5 Stars
December 10, 2022