AMAZING GRACE: With Charles Evers in Mississippi by Jason Berry

AMAZING GRACE: With Charles Evers in Mississippi

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In 1971, at the age of 22, Jason Berry joined the Charles Evers campaign for Governor of Mississippi as a press aide to the candidate. History has recorded that statistically Evers was overwhelmingly defeated in that election, charges of fraud and irregularities notwithstanding. But Berry, a sensitive young man given to reading Faulkner and analyzing the political tides of the South, believes that the black Evers' effort ""will be of enduring importance to Mississippi and her people. He was the first man to articulate the visceral problems from which all Mississippians suffer."" Time is the key. And understanding. This diary of the campaign tells us more of the mood of the New South than all of the newspapers and speeches put together. There is a moment, after the results are in and Berry is heading out of state in his ""battered"" Volkswagen, that a big Cadillac roars past, carrying the license tag ""Coahoma County, Mississippi."" Mentally he adds, ""Home of Aaron Henry. And then, with uncontrollable passion, I began to weep."" It was that sort of wrenching, emotional experience -- Charles Evers standing proud on the same courthouse steps in Decatur where the infamous Bilbo delivered racist threats; Evers telling his staff ""We gotta do more than just speak to our electorate. We gotta make 'em realize they're an electorate""; Berry, flashing back, realizing that the politics of race is not dead in the South, or perhaps anywhere. You'll like Berry; he's as like Jack Burden as Charles Evers is unlike Willie Stark, in this personal account of All The King's People.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1973
Publisher: Saturday Review Press