*First published in 1968, this second edition of “My Neighbor’s Island” (Lynray Press) exposes new generations to the origins of the affluent Black neighborhoods of The Dons, Baldwin Hills, View Park, Ladera Heights and more.
What happens when a prominent Black obstetrician and his wife—who happens to be a nurse– move into an upscale White neighborhood in Los Angeles during the beginning of “White flight” in the 1960s?
Award winning author Evelyn Allen Johnson recounts one family’s experience in a fast paced read, which, though fiction, is loosely based on her real life saga when her young family’s dream home perched on a hill, nearly became a nightmare against the backdrop of the ”progressive” Los Angeles skyline.
Barnes and Noble’s synopsis: This book treats the problems, issues and emotional attitudes that arise when a Black family moves into an all-White neighborhood. The author has a talent for realistic, dramatic situations and an unerring eye for the detection of social evil.
The story revolves around two families—the Burtons, a black household, and their neighbors, the Armstrongs. Mrs. Armstrong suffers from many conventional prejudices and from fears for the value of her house and land. She is restrained from moving only by her husband and daughter, who see beyond her limiting views.
Dr. Burton, a distinguished obstetrician, his wife and his child want only to live accordingly to the standard that best suits their tastes and income. The conflict that develops between the families is stark evidence of the unreasoning hostility that arises out of ignorance and fear.
It takes an accident and a dramatic birth to open the way for friendship and civilized behavior. The reader will find much to ponder, much to engross him or her, but, above all, what will emerge is a striking example of the truth that people of different racial backgrounds can live together in harmony if they try.
Mrs. Johnson knows her characters; the dialogue rings true. A perceptive, dynamic exposure of a gnawing contemporary problem vital to everyone, this unassuming book, with its familiar, true-to-life approach, may well accomplish more than many a heavy and scholarly volume.
Evelyn Allen Johnson was born and educated in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Johnson is a R.N. Cum Laude and graduate of the former Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing, currently Howard University School of Nursing. She attended Catholic University of America and received a B.S.N. and P.H.N. from California State University at Los Angeles. She has vast Nursing experience in the practice of Nursing, Nursing Administration and Teaching. She has concentrated on Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Public School Nursing and Nursing Administration. She received the Los Angeles Our Authors’ Study Club’s Vassie D. Wright Award for My Neighbor’s Island. Evelyn was inspired to write My Neighbor’s Island after she, her husband and their three children moved into the upscale, previously all white, restricted covenant community of Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles, CA.
Mrs. Johnson was so disturbed by the events that occurred following her family moving to Baldwin Hills, that she penned My Neighbor’s Island. She determined racial strife in America is founded on segregation of the black and white races, which has prevented their getting to know and respect one another as human beings and fellow Americans. She hopes My Neighbor’s Island will serve as enlightenment, to encourage togetherness, love and respect thus preventing despair, unrest and inequality in our great country.
She has also written numerous other works including, Pillar of Salt, Get The Show On The Road and a book of poetry, A Nurse’s Notes.
For over sixty years, Mrs. Johnson has lived in Los Angeles with her late husband Raymond L. Johnson, Sr., an original Tuskegee Airman, an Attorney, Judge Pro-tem and Assistant Professor for Charles R. Drew University School of Medicine. They have three children, Raymond Jr., also an attorney, Marjorie Johnson Warren, a physician and Robert, a dentist.
My Neighbor’s Island is now available in hardcover for $9.95 while an affordable Kindle edition is available for download at BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and wherever fine books are sold. For more information about the other novels Mrs. Johnson has penned, visit www.evelynallenjohnson.wordpress.com.