This book has shown that the marginalization of black youth in Hamilton, Alabama, is not only about race and racism, but is also part of an objectification of rural places and people; that without Jay Ellis School, African American children in Hamilton would be forced to attend Carlyle High and cope with its racist, elitist practices; and that Hamilton, with all of the idiosyncrasies of everyday life, is strongly connected to other towns and cities across America, especially in the South. The book has also allowed young African Americans to speak about how they fight the oppressions every day in their lives, and to reveal what is meaningful to them. Inequality in everyday life is interlaced with language and meaning, as demonstrated by the metaphor of mess. Moreover, the young people in Hamilton had a strong rural identity and demonstrated spirituality and resistance in very powerful ways.
Keywords: black youth, Hamilton, Alabama, racism, Jay Ellis School, African Americans, mess, identity, spirituality, resistance