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The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma


The Other Side of the River | Alex Kotlowitz

Beautifully written and painstakingly reported, The Other Side of the River sensitively portrays the lives and hopes of the towns' citizens as they wrestle with this mystery and others - and reveals the attitudes and misperceptions that undermine race relations throughout America. This powerful story challenges us to think about our own assumptions about race, no matter which side of the river we live on.

He looked at me and asked “would you like to travel in that and wait for the others on the other side of the river?” Cheeky man, I tell you! I politely declined saying that I’ll wait for the others first. Dropping me off there, he went to get SK who had begun to struggle again. About 40 minutes later SK appeared and looked calmly at our mode of river crossing. I wasn’t panicking but I definitely found it a bit amusing.

The Other Side of the River - The New York Times

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Serbia Is On The Other Side Of The River:
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The book, The Other Side of the River, by Alex Kotlowitz, investigates the relationship between two Michigan cities, as well as the death of Eric McGinnis. The two towns, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, are called the twin cities, though they are anything but. For one, St. Joseph is predominantly white, while the majority of the population in Benton Harbor is African American. Throughout the novel Kotlowitz questions how people are affected by their environment. When interviewed about his book he said, "... your perspective...all depends on which side of the river you live on." This statement is undoubtedly the backdrop for Kotlowitz's book. Eric's death is just one of the many ways in which disagreement between the two cities took place. Another death that sparked a commotion between the two cities, and possibly more important, between the two races, was the death of Norris Maben.

This is the written blog that goes along with my latest video about the manway trail that runs up the other side of the river in Big Greenbrier.