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May
27
Diane McWhorter
Booknotes, Sunday, May 27, 2001
Diane McWhorter discusses Carry Me Home : Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, but a contemporary African American saying predicted that freedom would come only after another hundred years of struggle. That prediction was about right: the civil rights struggle erupted in the middle of the 20th century, with its violence epicenter in the industrial city of Birmingham, Alabama. There freedom riders and voter-rights activists faced down Klansmen and Nazis, who had put aside their own differences to cast a pall of terror—and the smoke of a well-orchestrated campaign of church bombingsr—over the South. Diane McWhorter, a journalist and native Alabamian, offers a comprehensive, literate record of the struggle that covers more than half a century and that involves hundreds of major actors. Her work is solidly researched and highly readable, and it offers much new information. Among the many newsworthy aspects of the book are McWhorter's discussions of internal power struggles within the civil rights movement, the uneasy role of Birmingham's small Jewish population, and the collusion of local governmentr—especially swaggering police chief Bull Connor. The author also addresses the segregationist and white-supremacist movements and recounts the tortuous quest to bring the church bombers to justice, which was finally accomplished in 2000. Carry Me Home is a worthy and highly recommended companion to Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters and Andrew Young's An Easy Burden. —Gregory McNamee (timspalding)… (more)
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