"Carry Me Home is a dramatic account of the civil rights era's climactic battle in Birmingham, as the Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr., brought down the institutions of segregation." ""The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was one of the most cataclysmic periods in America's long civil rights struggle. That spring, King's child demonstrators faced down Commissioner Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches for desegregation - a spectacle that seemed to belong more in the Old Testament than in twentieth-century America. A few months later, Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated with dynamite, bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killing four young black girls. Yet these shocking events also brought redemption: They transformed the halting civil rights movement into a national cause and inspired the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which abolished legal segregation once and for all." "Diane McWhorter, the daughter of a prominent white Birmingham family, captures the opposing sides in this struggle for racial justice. Tracing the roots of the civil rights movement to the Old Left and its efforts to organize labor in the 1930s, Carry Me Home shows that the Movement was a waning force in desperate need of a victory by the time King arrived in Birmingham. McWhorter describes the competition for primary among the Movement's leaders, especially between Fred Shuttlesworth, Birmingham's flamboyant preacher-activist, and the already world-famous King, who was ambivalent about the direct-action tactics Shuttlesworth had been practicing for years." "Carry Me Home is the product of years of research in FBI and police files and archives, and of hundreds of interviews, including conversations with Klansmen who belonged to the most violent klavern in America. John and Robert Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover, George Wallace, Connor, King, and Shuttlesworth appear against the backdrop of the unforgettable events of the civil rights era - the brutal beating of the Freedom Riders as the police stood by; King's great testament, his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; and Wallace's defiant "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door." This book is a classic work about this transforming period in American history."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Introduction: September 15, 1963||p. 19|
|Part I||Precedents, 1938-1959|
|1.||The City of Perpetual Promise: 1938||p. 31|
|2.||Ring Out the Old: 1948||p. 56|
|3.||Mass Movements: 1954-1956||p. 84|
|4.||Rehearsal: 1956-1959||p. 111|
|Part II||Movement, 1960-1962|
|5.||Breaking Out||p. 149|
|7.||Freedom Ride||p. 200|
|9.||The Full Cast||p. 259|
|Part III||The Year of Birmingham, 1963|
|11.||New Day Dawns||p. 303|
|12.||Mad Dogs and Responsible Negroes||p. 323|
|14.||Two Mayors and a King||p. 351|
|18.||The Threshold||p. 411|
|19.||Edge of Heaven||p. 423|
|20.||No More Water||p. 441|
|21.||The Schoolhouse Door||p. 455|
|22.||The End of Segregation||p. 466|
|23.||The Beginning of Integration||p. 477|
|24.||All the Governor's Men||p. 487|
|25.||A Case of Dynamite||p. 497|
|26.||The Eve||p. 509|
|27.||Denise, Carole, Cynthia, and Addie||p. 519|
|30.||General Lee's Namesakes||p. 559|
|Abbreviations Used in Source Notes||p. 603|
|Selected Bibliography||p. 677|
Nineteen years ago journalist McWhorter (New York Times, USA Today) began research to understand Birmingham in 1963 and the part her family, especially her father, played in the events of that time. She skillfully tells the story of the city's Big Mules, who dominated the community socially, economically, and politically. They succeeded in protecting their profits and position through the use of class, race, religion, and communism to defeat labor unions, Reds, and blacks. This local power structure used lower-class thugs in the KKK and other organizations to divide Protestant and Catholic to prevent the rise of labor unions, and later used the Red Scare to battle the Civil Rights Movement. Local and state laws enforced by Bull Connor's police with the help of the KKK and racist judges kept a tight lid on dissent. Yet blacks successfully challenged the system through demonstrations that rallied the people, the nation, and the Kennedy administration to change fear to hope. Among blacks, the author praises primarily Fred Shuttlesworth, but no one escapes her criticisms. That includes her father who, according to him, did not kill anyone. McWhorter writes well, but the story is very involved. Good documentation. All collections. L. H. Grothaus emeritus, Concordia University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
In this groundbreaking book, McWhorter, a journalist and regular contributor to the New York Times and USA Today, tells the story of her hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, and the dramatic events that unfolded there during the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. A daughter of Birmingham's privileged elite, McWhorter weaves a personal narrative through this startling account of the history, events, and major players on both sides of the civil rights battle in that city. In painstaking detail, she reveals the hardships and horrors (including police dogs, water cannons, and bombings) faced by the Black Freedom Fighters, but she also plainly shows the conspiracy between the town's establishment, the city's public officials, and the vicious Klansmen who did the "dirty" work, in their furious resistance to desegregation. Exhaustively researched yet still compellingly readable, McWhorter's book is an excellent choice for libraries. --Kathleen Hughes
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review
The story of civil rights in Birmingham, Ala., has been told before from the unspeakable violence to the simple, courageous decencies but fresh, sometimes startling details distinguish this doorstop page-turner told by a daughter of the city's white elite. McWhorter, a regular New York Times contributor, focuses on two shattering moments in Birmingham in 1963 that led to "the end of apartheid in America": when "Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses" attacked "school age witnesses for justice," and when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Church, killing four black girls. Yet she brings a gripping pace and an unusual, two-fold perspective to her account, incorporating her viewpoint as a child (she was largely ignorant of what was going on "downtown," even as her father took an increasingly active role in opposing the civil rights movement), as well as her adult viewpoint as an avid scholar and journalist. Surveying figures both major and minor civil rights leaders, politicians, clergy, political organizers of all stripes her panoramic study unmasks prominent members of Birmingham in collusion with the Klan, revealing behind-the-scenes machinations of "terrorists on the payroll at U.S. Steel" and men like Sid Smyer, McWhorter's distant cousin, who "bankrolled... one of the city's most rabid klansmen." McWhorter binds it all together with the strong thread of a family saga, fueled by a passion to understand the father about whom she had long harbored "vague but sinister visions" and other men of his class and clan. (Mar. 15) Forecast: McWhorter's prominence and her willingness to name names as well as her exhaustive research and skillful narrative virtually guarantee major review attention. Bolstered by an eight-city tour and a pre-pub excerpt in Talk in February, the 50,000-copy first printing should move fast. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal Review
McWhorter, who was born into Birmingham's white elite, examines the city's pivotal role in the battle for civil rights. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Diane McWhorter, a daughter of Birmingham's white elite, is a journalist & regular contributor to The New York Times & USA Today. She has also written about race & politics for The Washington Post, People, & other major publications. She lives in New York City.