The emotion-charged, portentous civil rights confrontations in Selma, Alabama (was it just one decade ago?) seem by now --...

READ REVIEW

SELMA 1965: The Town Where the South Was Changed

The emotion-charged, portentous civil rights confrontations in Selma, Alabama (was it just one decade ago?) seem by now -- after the tremendous cultural, political and social changes since then -- and the death of Dr. King--to have edged into contemporary folklore; and Fager's careful retrospective is clear, cool and welcome. Occasionally he ventures into areas of minor controversy -- local Selma politics in both white and black communities -- but the bulk of the book is concerned with the chronology of remarkable events that -- thanks in a large part to TV -- shook up America, a President, and turned around a few who couldn't see clearly what was at stake. Fager reviews the day-by-night impact: troopers charging unarmed blacks; patient lines forming and reforming behind the ""Berlin Wall"" rope; Sheriff Clark, the archetypical redneck; the invading white clergymen and women; the stomping, clapping crowds in cattle-pen jails; the songs; the martyrs -- Jimmie Lee Jackson, Mrs. Liuzzo, Jonathan Daniels; the voices of three thousand marchers on that 50 mile trek from Selma to Montgomery; and the soaring oratory of Dr. King ("". . .the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. . .""/ ""Preach it! You say!""). Some of Fager's readings of SCLC/SNCC internecine disagreements may differ from others' accounts, but in general this is a responsible and invigorating review of those times when most freedom fighters were just ordinary folks, and stars came to Alabama.

Pub Date: April 1, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribners

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974