The Valley of Shadow of Death and Modern United States History Essay Example
The Valley of Shadow of Death and Modern United States History Essay Example

The Valley of Shadow of Death and Modern United States History Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 5 (1189 words)
  • Published: May 13, 2022
View Entire Sample
Text preview

The Valley of Shadow of death is a book authored by Kermit Alexander and co-authored by Alex Gerould and Jeff Snipes. It is a shocking tale of mistaken identity multiple murder and its aftermath.

Alexander who is a retired NFL player account of his own life that is quite compelling on its own merits. The story is centered in 1984 when gang of gunmen invaded Alexander’s home in Los Angeles killing his mother, sister and two boys leaving him shaken and a like a vagabond. He notes that his anguish was even due to the levels of “extreme nature shocked even the calloused inhabitants of South Central.” This is an indication that American modern history is also marred with different aspects of social injustices and crimes like the ones depicted in the book.

Alexander points out that his parents moved to this


area in escape from the Jim Crow laws, although their latter settlement could not promise more than segregation and crime. Alexander’s anguish prompted him to contemplate a vigilante reiteration which couldn’t mature up when the members of the gang were caught and sentenced to life imprisonment and death. The American society in the modern history has had a negative picture due to some misdemeanors that have been recorded in the course of 20th century.

States such as California have been a home to a number of people from all over the world and the continuation of the problem that the Chinese and the blacks were going through in the 19th century Alexander’s anguish prompted him to contemplate a vigilante reiteration which couldn’t mature up when the members of the gang were caught and sentenced to life

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

imprisonment and death.

The book defines some of the problems in 20th century in United States to be Segregation, high crime rate, and incompetent legislations and laws.
United States since 1900 have seen one of the most events which affected the country both positively and negatively. The period was marked with two presidents assassinated and two world wars that ad direct and indirect effects to the country. These events have been indirectly written in books and filmed in movies showing how the American societies have been. For instance, in one of such crimes in Los Angeles, Alexander witnessed the deaths of his mother and sister and two boys. United States crime rate has been rising for a long time due to leniency on the law which allowed excessive ownership of guns.

For instance, in 1968, the “Gun Control Act of 1968” as signed into law which tended to limit the violent crime rate that was experienced over this period. Alexander describes hearing gun shots in the streets of Los Angeles often; situations such as the one that made him lose his mother and sister. Violent crimes involving guns has been widely experienced in the world and this is the same situation in modern US history.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, was a prove that United States was far from achieving a crime free states. The assassination that was done by United States citizens proved that crime was not over. The assassination was termed by many as ill-fated and brutal in the history of United States was succeeded by series of killings. For instance, Lee Oswald who was charged with the Assassination was also assassinated by

Jack Ruby. This is a clear prove that crime rate was on the rise in United States.

Alexander through his work proves that crime was one of the main problems that United States was going through during this period.

The other relationship between the book and the US modern history is that racial segregation was still on and more prominent in California and most other areas in the South. For instance, Alexander says that his parents moved to LA in fear of the Jim Crow laws, but their new area did not have any impact in their lives as the segregation was still imminent.

Alexander Kermit being a black explains the problems that they faced in their life in Los Angeles. However, he fails to accept that the brutal killings were conducted on racial basis.

Racial segregation since the enactment of the Jim Crows was much problem that the society at that time was going through. Alexander lost his family due to a case of a mistaken identity of another black family. This kept him all the time thinking of his status as a black man and why much of the crimes were being directed to the blacks who were innocent and blameless. Some of them were tried and convicted over issues that they did not commit. This issue continued to be a problem even after the government enacted stricter laws on racism and segregation.

The period in the United States also witnessed the rise of various Anti-segregation figures such as martin Luther, W.E.B. Dubois and Ida B. Wells. All these historical figures were crucial in Pan-Africanism and helped in the end of Lynching that was being done to African

American US citizens. For instance, more than 1000 black Americans lost their lives in the hands of White people who would accuse them of several misdemeanors such as rape and robbery before lynching them. Although these cases had declined by this time, traces of these issues would report in various parts of the United States.

In 1980s, United States had just come in to terms with the end of Cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this case, rise of classes began In United States a situation that was seen in most of the capitalistic states. This made poverty to be a much problem that also affected the settlements in many major cities in United States. In this aspect, poverty had increased he major problems experienced in Los Angeles for Instance.

Alexander in his book also points out problems in housing in Los Angeles and other cities in United States. For instance, he explains the roots to racism “street terrorism, in addition to the governmental tactic of restrictive housing covenants…” this ensured that there were restrictions on the settlement of various people especially the blacks and the Latinos in poor conditions. This also was a perpetration of racism and segregation since the houses are offered to the elites and some of the middle class people. The poor are ignored and they are made to settle in suburbs of the major cities in under developed building.

In conclusion, United States have heard several positive aspects in its modern history. However in the book by Alexander, it shows the dramas and tragedies that he went through to become what he is. The positive impacts witnessed if on

the legal issues that have been written by Alex Gerould and Jeff Snipes. However, Alexander has tried to show the real historical events that were happening in United States in his literary work.


  1. Alexandern Kermit, Alex Gerould, and Jeff Snipes. The Valley of The Shadow of Death: A tale of Tragedy and Redemtion. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015.
  2. Pfeifer, Michael. Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947, Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 2004.
Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds