Letter – Book suggestion for School Board

Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Since the Isle of Wight County School Board adopted the policy that systemic racism is not perpetuated by government entities and no one is oppressed because of their race, I propose the board adopt a supporting textbook. The book would be titled “Happy People.”


Chapter 1

Of course there was slavery, but slaves were heartbroken when it ended. They enjoyed working from sunrise to sunset, and the joy received from being whipped by the “master” was a pleasure lost. The rapes were missed, too, because they demonstrated true love.  

When slavery ended, however, Jim Crow made the transition easier. The newly freed people were happy to still be considered sub-human. They believed the KKK was an honorable organization. Lynching parties were fun occasions, and the freed people loved the peonage system because it reminded them of slavery. 

Many opposed the Civil Rights Movement because they enjoyed riding in the back of the bus, having separate but unequal schools and having no voting rights. They didn’t want change. Many proudly served their country. Some even gave their lives for their country. Those lucky enough to return came home to a country that still demoralized them. Veterans applying for GI loans were told the GI Bill was not designed for them. This made the happy people happier.

Throughout the 20th century and even today, the happy people have enjoyed paying higher interest rates than others, having their home value deflated, redlining, police brutality, incarceration at a higher rate than others and being the target of white-supremacy groups. The happy people believed the system was always just and fair to them, and they couldn’t understand why anyone would complain.

End of Chapter 1


If we, as a county, are afraid to have candid conversations about race, if we are not honest, first with ourselves then our children, if we refuse to receive the truth, if we do not speak the truth and if we do not teach the truth, then we are a lost nation. 


Jessie Linyear