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Jonathan Odell – Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

February 28, 2015   |   2:00 pm

Set in pre-Civil Rights Era Mississippi, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League is the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida. One wealthy and white and the other poor and black with only two things in common: the devastating loss of their children and a deep and abiding loathing for one another. Embittered and distrusting, Vida is harassed by Delphi’s racist sheriff and haunted by the son she lost to the world.

Hazel, too, has lost a son and cannot keep a grip on her fractured life. After drunkenly crashing her car into a manger scene while gunning for the baby Jesus, Hazel is sedated and bed-ridden. Hazel’s husband hires Vida to keep tabs on his unpredictable wife and to care for his sole surviving son.

Forced to spend time together with no one else to rely on, the two women find they have more in common than they thought, and together they turn the town on its head. It is the story of a town, a people, and a culture on the verge of a great change that begins with small things like unexpected friendship.

Born in Mississippi, Odell grew up in the Jim Crow South and became involved in the civil rights movement in college. He holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and has been active in human resource development for over 30 years. Odell’s short stories and essays have appeared in several publications.