Reviewed by Ellen Suss
“Crossing Over: A Tribute to Don Raymond” by Glenn Singleton is a tribute to an African American athlete who was integrated into Hahnville High School in St. Charles Parish during a time of racial tension. The book is narrated in third person, but there are pieces of it that are told by friends and relatives of Raymond. The novel follows the span of Raymond’s life, up until his last moments.
“Crossing Over” invites the reader into Don Raymond’s childhood and teenage years, showing what kind of person he was. In every chapter, there are a few short stories that display Don Raymond’s numerous positive personality traits. The stories are from the insight of Raymond’s family and friends, and even people that shared a community with him. The stories make it clear that Raymond, nick-named “Easy” because of his go-with-the-flow attitude, affected the whole community with his integrity and his strive for improvement.
When Raymond decided to leave Carver High School and go to the all-white Hahnville High, along with a small group of other African-American students, he proved to the athletic coaches that he was talented and began playing alongside the white athletes. Although there were some racial difficulties at Hahnville, Raymond overcame these and became one of the greatest athletes at HHS.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Crossing Over.” The book tells many great stories of Raymond’s life and I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading an uplifting story about doing what you believe is right, inspiring your community and following your dreams.
Ellen Suss is a junior in the academically gifted program at Hahnville High. She enjoys theatre, cheerleading and playing piano.
Editor’s note: Book reviews are published in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program.