The Mayor Wore Sapphires By Martha Tucker
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
The nucleus of a cell is fragile and needs to be protected from harm. Like the yoke of an egg before the egg is cracked, the outer shell stays strong and protects the inner yoke from harm. Life has many fragile and delicate moments that need protection as the people do. Changes in our lives often bring resistance to that fragile outer shell of that egg or stretches that cell and its nucleus and the shape and form will no longer remain the same. But, when the changes that are needed to make that nucleus stronger and that shell harder to protect and create something better, there are those that will go to no lengths to make sure it happens.
Visions are more than what psychic sees when they give you a reading or tell the police of a government agency what they see in their minds in order to help solve a crime. Visions are often the long rage goals that you might have for a city’s growth, your own life to more ahead or for an entire community to flourish. It takes a person who believes in the extraordinary and does not sit back and settle for the usual to have strong visions, strong convictions and carry them out. Mel Tate was such a man. On September 9, 1981, Melvin Tate, the Californian Mayor of Compton was struck down by a bullet not only meant to kill him but his goals, values and ideals for his community. Black communities such as his were ridden with drive by shootings, drug wars, and little or no opportunity for jobs or expansion of their economy and little or no help to educate teens and young adults about life in general. Martha Tucker brings these issues and more to light in her groundbreaking first novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires.
When you take your visions and you stretch them to make that nucleus of that cell wider and the yoke of that egg stronger, you sometimes find a lot of resistance as did Indigo Tate did in this novel that makes a real statement about changing society and the way people think about each other and how we achieve our goals.
Although the time period might be the 80’s the message that the author is driving home is still prevalent and even more vital today. Our schools need to be improved, drugs need to be a thing of the past in our cities and states, corruption in government needs to be eliminated and guns need to be off the streets and not readily available. As our new President stated before he was elected, now is the time for change and it will take all of us to make sure that happens.
Mel Tate was a man with a vision for the people of Compton, California. He believed in change and he was a unique politician and wanted to create a special training program called World Hub for the people of his city. When he found out that millions of dollars that were appropriated for this project was missing, his goal to become his state’s Congressman were shattered. Deciding not to run and see his dream through, he tells his wife, that leaving their life outside of Compton was no longer an option. Convincing him to change his mind would have probably stopped the horrific chain of events that followed. All Indigo wanted was a better life and to leave Compton and live in Washington and help her husband create a better life for her and her family.
What did the City Planner, the Chief of Police, the District Attorney, the most powerful Congressman in the city and Councilman have in common, the belief that Melvin Tate’s way of thinking was not their way and he had to be stopped at any cost. Standing on the podium to unveil his new World Hub Project, Melvin Tate was gunned down in cold blood injuring his wife too. But, what was the real motive for this shooting? Who was the real target? That will require looking deeper into the nucleus of this fragile cell and the now broken shell of this fragile city whose outer shell was shattered when this powerful man was killed.
Martin Luther King believed in racial equality for everyone and that every person of every race should have the same opportunities in life. Indigo Tate believed in his vision and wanted the same for the people of Compton and she would go to undying lengths to complete what her husband had started and any cost.
There are many ways to increase the economy of a city. You can create jobs, opportunities for students to be able to attend college, and open doors to people who would ordinarily have nothing by helping to eliminate drugs, corruption, crime, drive by shootings and government conspiracies where you live. But, for those who hate change and feel the only way to increase and inflate the economy is to sell drugs to teens for profit, help a foreign country in its war by making sure they have the guns they need and using a city for South American Drug Lords to bring in their drugs and make a hefty profit, someone needs to stop them and someone tries.
Indigo Tate loses everything when her husband is killed. Her entire world comes falling down and she needs to rebuild not only her life but protect her children too. But, when you find out that there is no one you can trust except yourself and your own instincts, you really need the courage and fortitude not to break apart even further.
Watching her husband shot right in front of her and then getting shot herself, Indigo Tate was not going to let his murder go unsolved or the mystery behind why he was targeted go unpunished. But, how far will she have to get and at what expense. Proud of what her husband wanted to do for Compton by creating World Hub, which would not only bring jobs and business to her city, but would help bring technology, manufacturing, marketing, training and more in order to help change the lives of the people there for the better, she would do all she could to make his dream come true.
Indigo ‘s goal was to create rid her city of drugs, stop the drive by shootings of innocent children, help the homeless and raise the level of education for the children in the city in order to create not only a safer environment for the people, but to erase the barriers between Black and White too. What a great and wonderful objective and goal. But, there were those, close to her and to her late husband who pretended to support his ideals and her goal to follow through with his mission to end poverty and crime in her city through World. Hub.
Thinking that she would have the support of many of her husband’s backers and constituents she decides the only way to succeed is to become Mayor of Compton and continue his work. Never think the ordinary always go for the extraordinary is what her father told her growing up. Never settle for mediocre when you can be the best and never let them know you are afraid. Do not let anyone see the fear in your eyes and keep strong.
Indigo belonged to a group called the Diamonds. A group of Black woman who were the Who’s Who of Beverly Hills and were powerful not only in the decisions that would be made in her life but in the lives of others too. Dupree Pascal, her husband Congressman Frank Pascal would play an integral part in the events that would shatter her life and those of others too. Congressman Kahn, who wanted to be Mayor and hoped that she, would back him and his ideals for Compton. John Varner, the most sought after campaign manager in the country, wanted his piece of the pie too. Each having their own secrets to hide and each with his or her own agenda, no one wanting her to succeed.
World Hub would create a better life for everyone in Compton and would help educate young mothers in childcare. It would create jobs in manufacturing, commerce, technology, marketing and more. Eliminating drugs from the streets, getting rid of guns and lowering the crime rate this project would change the way people lived for the better. But, her so-called friends had other ideas and the people she thought closest to her and hoped to protect her did not.
As deadly as the war in Iraq and any World War, Indigo Tate launches one of her own against crime, corruption, hate, conspiracy and deceit at any cost. With no one to trust and everything to lose she works relentlessly to find out the killed her husband and why a young teenage drug seller was framed for his murder.
What happens sends a message that is so powerful and so strong it keeps the reader transfixed until the very last word of this book that sends a strong message. The ending will send you wanting for me and leave you thinking: Can this really happen? Is the fight for justice and to keep our kids safe ever going to end? What does happen to the project that Indigo fought so hard to make happen and at what cost does she become Mayor of Compton and at whose expense besides her own? You need to read this first time novel by Martha Tucker who definitely has a voice that needs to be heard and a pen that has to write the next chapter for Indigo and the people of Compton. The story does not end on the last page and this reviewer wants to more.
I would definitely give this book FIVE PERFECTLY CUT BLUE SAPPHIRES placed in that circle and nucleus to make it stronger. The sapphire is the Stone of Destiny. The stone provides and holds within its power mental clarity and perception and financial rewards. It symbolizes truth, sincerity and faithfulness and all of the attributes of Indigo Tate. By wearing that stone around her neck it drew protection for her, increased her wisdom and oversaw her destiny. It is truly the stone of prosperity and worthy of our Indigo Tate who brought that to Compton and more.