Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew
Oil-boom opulence, fear, hate, and lynchings are the backdrop for this riveting novel about one of the worst incidents of violence in American history. Althea Whiteside, an oil wildcatter’s high-strung white wife, and her enigmatic Black maid, Graceful, share a complex connection during the tense days of the Oklahoma oil rush. Their juxtaposing stories – and those of others close to them – unfold as tensions mount to a violent climax in the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, during which whites burned the city’s prosperous Black neighborhood to the ground. The massacre becomes the crucible that melds and tests each of the characters in this masterful exploration of the American race story and the ties that bind us irrevocably to one another.
Paperback. 376 pages.