THE FREE MEN by John Ehle


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Segregation in Chapel Hill, the seat of the University of North Carolina, was not as meanly enforced as in Montgomery or as productive of violence as in Birmingham. The very nature of its relative moderation makes this record of the community's struggle against civil rights that much more revealing. The author centers his journalistic, non-sensational account around the activities of three young men: John Dunne, a brilliant scholarship boy; Pat Cusick, brought up to revere a tradition of white supremacy; and Quinton Baker, a young Negro college student. These boys started demonstrating against segregation in Chapel Hill in 1962. Their experience is a reading in miniature of what has happened elsewhere with more publicity. They started as student pickets before a restaurant and went on to try sitins, marches and the creation of their own chapter of a non-violent organization. They had fallings out among themselves but clung to first principles through vicious beatings, innumerable court sessions and finally long prison sentences. The author has used personal interviews, newspapers and trial records in his effort to show how the piling up of official injustice has failed to halt forward progress in either the civil rights movement or in the personal lives of the young zealots who force the issues. This is a concentrated segment of recent history that will make a primary source of fact for tomorrow's historians and provide today's concerned readers with the special insights of a native Southern writer.

ISBN: 0979304911
Publisher: Harper & Row