Author Elizabeth Barnes’ New Novel Explores Lasting Impact of 1950s-era Hate

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Story follows one woman’s efforts to get past the scarring past she experienced in the South

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Author Elizabeth Barnes examines issues of character and hate crimes in “The Dark Strip: A Novel” (published by iUniverse).

Temperance Green Smith often wonders what would have happened if she and her best friend, Rhonda had gone to the early movie that hot Saturday in July of 1954 in Lenoirville, North Carolina. The only descendant of North Carolina textile workers and a daughter of 20th century social strife, Temperance knows things would have gone much differently.

An excerpt from the book:

“Without turning to look at her, she whispered in a stage whisper to Rhonda, ‘When we get to the edge of the dark strip, start running as fast as you can.’

Rhonda breathed in a hyperventilated voice, ’Okay,’ and waited for further stage prompting.

Shaking, they kept their brisk, but even, pace toward the now-dreaded strip of sidewalk, strong hearts hammering their ribs and adrenaline pumping their muscles. The instant they stepped inside the shadowed, outer edge of the dark strip, choreographed by trust and close friendship, both girls in perfect synchrony took off in a headlong dash.

’Now! Run!’”

Many years later, Temperance still bears guilt over the hate killing of one who had performed a courageous but costly act on her behalf. Pressed by her counselor, she submits to write her story, “dirty days and all.” Recalling and reinterpreting both traumatic and happy events long repressed, she writes a story revealing a detailed slice of mid-20th century culture and exposes connections between oppressed races and classes.

A searching reconfiguration of America’s epic civil rights narrative, “The Dark Strip” projects a tragic vision of the effort to win liberty and the power to name one’s place and links it with a story of love found and lost and ripeness extracted from pain and endurance.

About the Author
Elizabeth Barnes is a retired professor and a wife, mother and grandmother. A native North Carolinian and an alumna of Duke University, she is both a Carolina Tar Heel and a Duke Blue Devil. She lives and writes in Cary and White Lake, North Carolina.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebook on Twitter.


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