Justyce, one of a few black teens who attends a private school is Georgia, has encountered racism on a daily basis. One day, Justyce is walking when he notices his ex-girlfriend is trying to drive home while intoxicated. Doing the right thing, Justyce decides to drive her home. Before he can, a police officer stops him and puts him into handcuffs thinking Justyce was robbing this girl. In a few hours, the situation has been cleared up, but Justyce can still feel the handcuffs around his wrists. As Justyce reflects on the evening, he begins writing letters to Martin Luther King asking him what he would do in Justyce’s situation. As Justyce continues to experience racism at school, he researches more about King’s methods and works to apply them to his own life.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone is moving. Her story discusses white privilege and the misguided impressions white people have towards the country’s equality through conversations in Justyce’s societal evolution class. Many of the discussions the class has are the same conversations that are being talked about nationally. She seamlessly debunks these misconceptions through classroom debates. Stone also addresses police brutality and the often biased trials that determine the officer’s guilt when one of Martin’s friends is shot by an off-duty police officer. Stone succeeds in acknowledging the problems we are facing right now and provides perspective for us who are looking to understand both what and how we need to change as people and as a nation. Dear Martin by Nic Stone is a powerful story that captures the racism of our country and educates us about national issues. It is a must-read.