Events, big and small, that we witness can have an effect on us later in life. Tony Grooms, an author and poet living in Atlanta describes how events he saw on television as a young boy became topics in his stories. One big event that he watched on television was news coverage of children in Birmingham protesting during the Civil Rights movement. In his story “Negro Progress,” Grooms describes the police using powerful fire hoses to stop the protesters. Some of the children mocked the police by dancing in the water spray. Their actions in the face of danger inspired his story. Another event, reenacted in this Georgia Story, also occurred while watching television. This time Grooms was watching the Ed Sullivan Show with his aunt and uncle when James Brown was on the show. Grooms says his aunt would have preferred to watch a more sedate performer like Count Basie. She disapproved of the stage antics of James Brown and thought he was making a spectacle of himself. The entire event was amusing to Grooms who retold it in his story “Paolo and Far Away.” Georgia Story viewers are reminded that while many things on television may be forgettable, every now and again, there is something that stays with us that we never forget.
Teacher tip: Ask students to think of an event they saw on television and use it to write a story about how that event affected them afterwards.