A Guide for Reading Groups The Return of Buddy Bush
by Shelia P. Moses
1. Pattie Mae says that her grandfather died not from illness or old age, but "from a broken heart about [her] Uncle Buddy and what the white folks did to him. (p.3)" What does she mean? Do you think it is possible to die from a broken heart? What is the connection between mental and physical health? What impact can years of discrimination and mistreatment have on a person's well-being?
2. The Jones family and others in Rich Square observe certain rituals when people pass away. Give examples. What is the meaning behind these customs? What is their purpose, and how do they serve to strengthen family and community in times of crisis? What rituals does your family observe when someone dies? How is death honored in different religions and cultures?
3. Pattie Mae says, "Uncle Buddy should have stayed North. North of Baltimore, where colored men belong, so they can be men (p.2)" Later, Uncle Buddy tells her that southern blacks move to Harlem so they can "get some respect (p. 75)." If you were to ask Pattie Mae and Uncle Buddy to explain what they mean, how would they respond? Why and in what ways was life in the south different from life in the north in the 1940s? What factors (historical, economic, cultural) affected race relations? Is the situation the same today? Why or why not? What has, or has not, changed?
4. What are Pattie Mae's first impres