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Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its…

Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy

by Paul Hendrickson

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3551. Sons of Mississippi A Story of Race and Its Legacy, by Paul Hendrickson (read 26 Jan 2004) I was greatly taken up by Hendrickson's The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War when I read it on 26 July 1997, so I wanted to read this account of the aftermath to critical events in the civil rights struggle in Mississippi, the Emmet Till murder in 1955 and the riot occasioned by James Meredith's entry into the University of Mississippi in late Sept 1862. The book is themed by a picture of seven sheriffs (actually six sheriffs and one deputy sheriff) taken just before the riot, which appeared in Life, and the author has interviewed and tells much of the lives of those sheriffs, and of James Meredith and his son. Though Mississippi has erected a monument on Ole Miss' grounds commemorating the civil rights struggle, its voters overwhelmingly voted to keep the Confederate flag on its state flag, and there appears to be much nonacceptance of the today's climate among at least older Mississippians. This is a good book, but might have been more effective if it were more objective, albeit the author is on the side of the good guys. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Oct 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375704256, Paperback)

They stand as unselfconscious as if the photograph were being taken at a church picnic and not during one of the pitched battles of the civil rights struggle. None of them knows that the image will appear in Life magazine or that it will become an icon of its era. The year is 1962, and these seven white Mississippi lawmen have gathered to stop James Meredith from integrating the University of Mississippi. One of them is swinging a billy club.

More than thirty years later, award-winning journalist and author Paul Hendrickson sets out to discover who these men were, what happened to them after the photograph was taken, and how racist attitudes shaped the way they lived their lives. But his ultimate focus is on their children and grandchildren, and how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers was transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons. Sons of Mississippi is a scalding yet redemptive work of social history, a book of eloquence and subtlely that tracks the movement of racism across three generations and bears witness to its ravages among both black and white Americans.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:49 -0400)

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"Sons of Mississippi recounts the story of seven white Mississippi lawmen depicted in a horrifically telling 1962 Life magazine photograph - and of the racial intolerance that is their legacy." "In that photograph, which appears on the front of this jacket, the lawmen (six sheriffs and a deputy sheriff) admire a billy club with obvious pleasure, preparing for the unrest they anticipate - and to which they clearly intend to contribute - in the wake of James Meredith's planned attempt to integrate the University of Mississippi. In finding the stories of these men, Paul Hendrickson gives us an extraordinarily revealing picture of racism in America at that moment. But his ultimate focus is on the part this legacy has played in the lives of their children and grandchildren." "One of them is a grandson - a high school dropout and many times married - who achieves an elegant poignancy in his struggle against the racism to which he sometimes succumbs. One son is a sheriff, as his father was - and in the same town. Another grandson patrols the U.S. border with Mexico - a law enforcement officer like the two generations before him - driven by the beliefs and deeds of his forebears. In all the portraits, we see how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers has been transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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