A coming-of-age love story set on the South Side of Chicago in the early 1960s
A Risky Affair
Maybe because they are young and innocent, cute black Valerie Davis and nerdy white Jeffrey Stark are late to realize that falling in love on Chicago's South Side in 1963 is a highly risky affair. Whites are fleeing as blacks move into formerly all-white communities like South Shore. Racial tensions are off the charts.
At first, Valerie and Jeff help each other out of tough racial fixes—he saves her from attack at an all-white amusement park and she saves him from injury in a racial brawl at school. He takes pleasure in drawing sketches of her, with red hearts. But as their romance becomes more serious, so do the racial dangers. White police target Valerie as a prostitute and black gang members see Jeff as trying to sexually exploit a black girl. Seemingly inevitably, the blossoming romance collides head on with the realities of Northern-style racism one hot summer afternoon at one of Chicago's most beautiful Lack Michigan beaches, when a racial protest turns ugly, confronting the couple with terrible choices. This is a haunting story that foretells the seemingly intransigent problems of gang violence, police corruption, and failing schools that have overwhelmed much of the city.