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The Cross Burns Brightly: A Hall-Of-Famer Tackles Racism and Adversity to Help Troubles Boys

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This is a powerful and inspiring story of faith in God and the relentless pursuit of a vision.


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This is a powerful and inspiring story of faith in God and the relentless pursuit of a vision.

18 review for The Cross Burns Brightly: A Hall-Of-Famer Tackles Racism and Adversity to Help Troubles Boys

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jo Resciniti

    I graduated from McGuffey, the Claysville, PA school where the Mel Blount Youth Home is located, in 1998. I was in middle school when a boy from the youth home stole a teacher’s car and drove it to Pittsburgh. The community backlash and resentment to the Mel Blount Youth Home was a formative experience for me even though my family wasn’t actively involved. I sought out this book now, 20+ years after graduation, because a church workshop on overcoming systemic racism made me think about my alma m I graduated from McGuffey, the Claysville, PA school where the Mel Blount Youth Home is located, in 1998. I was in middle school when a boy from the youth home stole a teacher’s car and drove it to Pittsburgh. The community backlash and resentment to the Mel Blount Youth Home was a formative experience for me even though my family wasn’t actively involved. I sought out this book now, 20+ years after graduation, because a church workshop on overcoming systemic racism made me think about my alma mater, the cross burning, KKK rallies, and continual harassment of the Mel Blount Youth Home. I wondered what ever happened to the home and how much of the gossip of my childhood and teenage years was true. It was all in Mel Blount’s book, The Cross Burns Brightly. All of the stories I’d heard were true and Mr. Blount recounts in detail the hateful notes left under his windshield wipers and disgusting racist displays left on his property. He explains his mistakes and takes full responsibility for actions taken by himself and his staff. It is an above average memoir, well-written even if most of the dialogue is a bit forced. This is an important story, especially for people like me that grew up in self-segregated exclusively white areas like the McGuffey School District. I found the overt racism of the KKK easier to process than the deep systemic racism of the child welfare agencies and local newspapers. Growing up, I knew the Klan was active in my area. I think we were able to put every unseemly impulse we had regarding race onto them. Those guys in white robes were a problem. They were bad and the rest of us were good. We took advantage of how they kept our country homes “safe” by keeping out anyone that didn’t look like us. We lived happy idyllic lives in picture perfect scenery and didn’t worry about diversity. But there were far more sinister forces at work and it’s obvious to me now that racist areas don’t develop without racist people. This book was an emotionally challenging read as it forced me to reconcile the ways my own inaction paired with systems of white privilege to make Mel Blount’s mission difficult and stymie his efforts to help children in need. The Cross Burns Brightly tells the story of the Mel Blount Youth Home up to the mid-90s. Mr. Blount continued to make changes and face adversity after publication. In 2005, two boys from Claysville spray painted a swastika on the sign for the home. Today, the home hosts summer programs and does not appear to house foster children or teens full time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Clara Roberts

    This memoir had an inauthentic feel to it. While Blount has concern for little boys cast out of their homes and live on the street he speaks of little concern for his own seven children by three different women. His stories of the KKK in the 1980's and 1990's in PA sound made-up. He seemed to want to inflate himself as some great Christian hero. This book was poorly written. This memoir had an inauthentic feel to it. While Blount has concern for little boys cast out of their homes and live on the street he speaks of little concern for his own seven children by three different women. His stories of the KKK in the 1980's and 1990's in PA sound made-up. He seemed to want to inflate himself as some great Christian hero. This book was poorly written.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Valentine

    Powerful book and very inspirational. Just shows what one person's commitment to do to change lives. Powerful book and very inspirational. Just shows what one person's commitment to do to change lives.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jest_Once

  6. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe Carmany

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donald Lee

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  13. 5 out of 5

    ⓝⓐⓣⓗⓐⓝⓐⓔⓛ♦Depression Sucks♦

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  15. 5 out of 5

    Reader

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zhu Sun

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Pellen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Racen

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